Employee Management: Dealing With The DUI Issue

A number of billboards popping up across the country intend to shock passersby about the cost of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI). In Texas, a popular billboard lists $17,500 as the cost of a first DUI, while an Ohio sign trumpets a total first time cost of $14,750.

At Ag1Source, we have noticed that the impacts of a DUI can actually stretch way beyond the actual direct legal and insurance costs due to a lifetime of limited employment opportunities. In this article, we share a few stories that address the lifetime career costs and a potential bright spot for some organizations and hiring managers.

To begin, we strongly recommend a small reminder to all employees to be safe and always turn over the keys or find another ride when drinking. This reminder is very timely as we come into the holiday season. No one wants a DUI, much less a life-taking accident, especially coming back from a company holiday party.

With that said, we wanted to introduce you to the REAL impact of a DUI on your record. In the past 12 months, we have actively worked with several candidates that had fairly recent DUIs. Let’s start with the tougher situations and work towards the bright spot at the end.

Our first candidate was at the executive level for a major crop inputs manufacturing company. He had recently moved to another company and was pulled over and ticketed for DUI. Independent of the DUI event, his company was going through some downsizing and he was let go.

In this case the DUI didn’t cause his termination, but now he can’t work for most of the major companies in the chemical or seed space, where he has a wealth of experience, because many of those companies have stated “No Tolerance” policies for a DUI on your record. This candidate has now been left to look for work across a much larger geography, with less income potential.

Our second candidate was one of the top five sales representatives at one of the three major farm equipment manufacturers. He was out with customers, had one too many and was pulled over on the way home. His company worked very hard to keep him, but in the end, they were not willing to have an employee drive a company vehicle with a DUI on his record.

This candidate had asked us to find him something in a sales role. In agriculture, most, if not all, sales roles involve company vehicles. We helped this candidate get very deep into interviews with a client that has employees run their own vehicles and receive reimbursement. However, the company’s insurance underwriters still had a problem with the perceived risk and he was unable to get hired.

Another Example

Our last example is a management team member at a highly thought of and recognized agronomy retail organization. This particular employee was pulled over for a DUI, but was not in a driving role for the company. However, the company’s insurance provider had a big problem with the retention of this employee due to the perceived risk for an organization in an industry that is already filled with liability risks. The employee was let go and has since found a role working for a competitor in an hourly position with much less responsibility and compensation. The company has now established a zero-tolerance policy.

Across these three examples, when each person totaled the fines, legal fees, insurance costs and time away from work, the cost of the actual DUI was easily near the amounts mentioned on the billboards. However, the long-term earnings lost by not working up to one’s career capabilities, because of many large company policies against EVER hiring someone with a DUI, is significant.

We tried to estimate it for the three example candidates in this article and it quickly rose into the hundreds of thousands of dollars lost by disrupting that career path.

For our bright spot, we’d like to introduce an opportunity in the form of two examples we helped facilitate with our clients. First, we had a candidate that had been released from a major seed company because of a DUI infraction. We approached one of Ag1Source’s longest and best clients with a chance to hire a true “rockstar” salesperson with an ability to manage other salespeople as well. The client put an individual vehicle policy in front of the candidate that mitigated their risk and the employee is hitting the ball out of the park and surpassing all goals.

So in terms of mitigating risks, what did our client and Ag1Source do? First, there were many long conversations and background checks making sure the candidate did not have a chronic problem with drinking and that this DUI was an isolated incident. This work is critical and not easy to do, but can be worth it if the employee comes on and delivers results.

Second, our client has the employee driving to sales calls in a personal vehicle that they then reimburse mileage at the government rate. The company avoids the increase of insurance, but is potentially liable for anything that happens while the employee is conducting company business. This individual did not have a chronic problem and it was clear that the DUI was the result of a bad decision. As a result, the likelihood that the employee is going to get in repeat trouble while on company business was extremely low.

Another Positive

Our second positive example goes one step further. Our candidate was working for a major fertilizer company and was let go upon getting a DUI. The candidate was out at a trade show and had “one too many” before heading back to the hotel, and was pulled over during that transit. He went through all the required court training and has stopped drinking altogether.

One of our retail clients was looking for a salesperson and we were able to introduce the candidate to a retail opportunity within a couple miles of his home. Our client worked with us to draft an employment contract that stipulates operation of a personal vehicle and goes one step further to include a migration to a company vehicle if there are no further moving violations of any kind during a two-year period.

With that plan in place, our client was able to get a high performing salesperson that would have normally stayed with a basic manufacturer. This client is very happy with the employees’ performance and has started making plans to build a significant portion of their business around him if he continues to deliver.

Our message across these last two examples is critical. If you’ve read any of our prior articles or have perhaps listened to the CropLife webinar we conducted in April, we have made the future very clear. The retail agronomy industry is entering a period where there will be an even greater shortage of ag background candidates, especially candidates that are dynamite salespeople or managers for a large portion of your business. If — and this is a big if — you can find a candidate that may have made a one-time mistake and is NOT a chronic alcoholic or repeat driver while intoxicated perpetrator, you may be able to land top-end talent a little more inexpensively.

Statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and The Century Council show that alcohol related accidents and arrests have been on a slow decline over the past decade. However, statistics also show that there is almost no way that each of us (business and personally) can avoid being impacted by this issue during our career.

Consider these facts and how they can impact your business, your employees and yourself:

  • One in three people will be involved in an alcohol related crash in their lifetime.
  • Almost every 90 seconds, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash.
  • An average drunk driver has driven at least 80 times before the first arrest.
  • Fifteen percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes during the week were drunken driving crashes. This number rises to 33% on Friday and Saturday.

Annual averages also indicate that ½% to 1% of licensed drivers are arrested for a DUI each year. This implies that a company with 100 to 150 employees is almost guaranteed to face a DUI issue each and every year — unless they choose to do something about it.

Alcohol related issues are difficult to discuss, enforce and resolve. However, with the employment challenges this industry faces, it will be critical for everyone in the ag industry to do their part in combatting and resolving many of the challenges this issue has created.

Leave a Reply

Employees Stories

Employee Interview
Employees1 Simple Step To Hiring And Retention In Ag Retail
February 2, 2017
There are three significant trends pertaining to the ag industry workforce which merit consideration: A growing shortage of qualified workers, Read More
AgHires.com
EmployeesAgHires Launches Redesigned Job Board, Recruiting Platform
November 8, 2016
In an effort to better serve job seekers and employers in and around agriculture, AgHires has launched its new redesigned job Read More
EmployeesOABA Program Develops Future Generation Of Agribusiness Leaders
September 29, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association will select up to 25 promising leaders to participate in a leadership enhancement program early next Read More
Co-Alliance employee
EmployeesNew Purdue Program To Focus On Talent Management
July 14, 2016
Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business is starting a new professional development program to help food and agribusiness Read More
Trending Articles
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Latest News
ManagementSouth Africa Update and the New New Leader G5
February 24, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the recent visit to South Africa by sister magazine AgriBusiness Global and the Read More
Fall Creek Watershed
StewardshipUpdate: Nutrient Stewardship In Indiana Requires Cool, …
February 24, 2017
Update: The application deadline for NCRS funding has been extended to March 17, 2017. Green leaves sparkle in the sunlight. Trees Read More
Greenleaf Technologies TADF03-D Dual Fan Nozzle
NozzlesSix Greenleaf Nozzles Approved For XtendiMax With Vapor…
February 22, 2017
Greenleaf Technologies has announced that six of its TurboDrop D Series nozzles have been approved for use with Monsanto’s XtendiMax Read More
Winter Wheat
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Hires Manitoba And Eastern Canada Account Man…
February 22, 2017
Tiger-Sul, a global leader in sulphur fertilizers and crop performance products, has announced that sales veteran Trevor Loewen has joined Read More
NFMS 17 Hagie Sprayer
Eric SfiligojThe Read From Louisville: Uncertain
February 22, 2017
By the time this column appears across the country, the annual Commodity Classic will be in full swing. This means Read More
SprayersApache 1000 Series Sprayer Earns 2017 EquipmentWatch Hi…
February 21, 2017
ET Works has been named a winner in the 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards program, the industry’s only award Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
StewardshipMeister Media Among 2017 Award Winners Presented By The…
February 21, 2017
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) held its annual conference in San Diego, CA, earlier this month where three awards were Read More
John Reifsteck
CropLife 100GROWMARK’s Reifsteck Earns NCFC Director Of The Y…
February 21, 2017
GROWMARK Chairman of the Board and President John Reifsteck has earned the prestigious Director of the Year Award from the Read More
Roy Blunt
LegislationARA Recognizes Blunt, Heitkamp For Legislative Efforts …
February 17, 2017
Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward. The Agricultural Retailers Read More
LegislationThe Fertilizer Institute Commends Senate On Confirmatio…
February 17, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationBREAKING: Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Confirmed by S…
February 17, 2017
Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various Read More
ManagementFebruary Road Trip Edition
February 17, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent visits to Indiana and Kentucky. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
ManagementHeritage Cooperative, Agland Co-op Approve Merger
February 17, 2017
Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative stockholders have both approved the merger agreement between Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative. Now begins Read More
LegislationARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmake…
February 15, 2017
More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a Read More
Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked M…
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More
NL5000 With G5 Technology
SpreadersNew Leader Introduces NL5000 Dry Nutrient Applicator Wi…
February 13, 2017
New Leader, a division of Highway Equipment Company (HECO), has announced the next generation of spreading technology with the NL5000 Read More
Fertilizer Storage
Crop InputsThe State Of The Fertilizer Industry
February 9, 2017
He’s all hat, no horse.” It’s a humorous way of describing a person who tells a good story, but is Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Agrees To Credit Agreement Amendme…
February 9, 2017
Pinnacle Operating Corp. has entered into an amendment (the “Amendment”) to its First Lien Credit Agreement that will provide for, Read More