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

EmployeesASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour: 10 Things We Learned
May 10, 2016
In the Midwestern ag retail world, the last week of April and the first two weeks of May are akin Read More
Purdue Online Course Screenshot
EmployeesPurdue Center Offers Online Course For Ag Sales Professionals
March 16, 2016
A new online course from Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business will help sales managers and advanced salespeople Read More
Agronomist and farmer on iPad inspecting weeds
EmployeesLand O’Lakes: Ag Industry Failing To Attract Next Generation
March 15, 2016
The world’s demand for food will surge by 2050, with a projected 10 billion people requiring a 70% increase in Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Scarce
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
Aerial Drone
Precision AgA Deeper Dive Into The Future Of Precision Ag
May 9, 2016
For about two decades now, through the good and the bad times, the ups and the downs inherent in agriculture, Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncontrolled Weeds
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
Latest News
ManagementWashington Visit and Bayer/Monsanto Deal Update
May 26, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discusses a recent trip to DC and the latest news on the proposed pairing Read More
Fertilizer closeup in hand
Industry NewsVerdesian: Striking A Balance Between Yield & ROI
May 26, 2016
Finely tuned nutrient management plans are helping farmers throughout the U.S. improve nutrient use efficiency, increase return on investment (ROI) Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Announces Minnesota Water Quality Pa…
May 25, 2016
Governor Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski today announced a new public-private partnership to protect Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Establishes Global Headquarters In R…
May 25, 2016
Arysta LifeScience has announced plans to relocate its global headquarters from West Palm Beach, FL, to Cary, NC, over the Read More
fertilizer blending and storage, Top 100
BlendersCHS Dakota Expansion Features AGCO’s GSI InterSys…
May 25, 2016
The continued growth of precision agriculture has increased farmer use of customized fertilizer blends best-suited for their soil conditions. Several Read More
ManagementAgriculture 3.5: A Bumpy Road Ahead
May 24, 2016
You may have read my article a few years ago on Agriculture 3.0, which is a term I coined to Read More
Topcon’s X30 display with CropSpec sensors
EquipmentGPS Autosteer Systems: Product Updates From Precision A…
May 24, 2016
Throughout 2015 GPS Steering solutions continued to evolve from what was once an after-market add on, to today’s cab where Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojThe Precision Ag Revolution Continues
May 24, 2016
It’s funny how much “the first time” tends to mean to someone as they get older. I sometimes can’t recall Read More
Eric Wintemute, AMVAC
Precision AgAMVAC Ups The Ante With New Precision Ag Technology
May 24, 2016
A potentially industry-changing at-plant soil treatment system from American Vanguard Corp., or AMVAC, is coming soon to large growers in Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
CropLife 100CropLife 100 Map
May 24, 2016
The new CropLife 100 map shows the locations of each of the headquarters of the 2015 CropLife 100 retailers. The interactive Read More
Southern States Cooperative
Corn Field
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Names Veteran Account Manager To Lead Central…
May 23, 2016
With the continuing growth of the sulphur bentonite and precision crop nutrient industry, global agriculture firm H.J. Baker has announced that Read More
Bayer sign
Industry NewsReuters: Bayer Defies Critics With $62 Billion Monsanto…
May 23, 2016
German drugs and crop chemicals group Bayer has offered to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Hires Industry Veteran To Lead Plant N…
May 19, 2016
Compass Minerals has hired plant nutrition industry veteran Vatren Jurin to steer the company’s portfolio expansion into specialty liquid micronutrient Read More
ASMARK Retailers LIVE! Tour 2016 Group shot The Andersons
CropLife 100The Andersons Rejects Unsolicited Proposal From HC2
May 19, 2016
The Andersons, Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has rejected two non-binding, highly conditional, unsolicited proposals from HC2 Read More
glyphosate
Crop InputsWHO: Glyphosate ‘Unlikely’ To Cause Cancer
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter Kate Kelland: The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate, made by Monsanto and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, Read More