Hammond JessicaThe Horsemen’s Counseling Program has brought many backstretch workers a new lease on life. Addictions, depression, marital problems, financial issues—all can be addressed through services provided by this program. This program is a joint effort between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Horsemen's Assistance Fund.

Below is a useful FAQ regarding the program:

What is the purpose of the Horsemen’s Assistance Coordinator?

To assist racecourse employees who are dealing with personal, family, and work related situations that they may find troubling.

How can the Horsemen’s Assistance Coordinator help me?

The coordinator provides services and resources to assist in dealing with a wide variety of problems. This problems include: Stress, Depression, Family Problems, Marital Conflict, Anxiety, Grief, Alcohol or Drug Abuse, Financial Concerns, and Legal Issues.

Can a supervisor or trainer contact the HAC if they are concerned about an employee?

Yes. The HAC is available to assist them in coping with a wide variety of workplace issues. The HAC will also work closely with the trainers toward a drug free workplace policy and environment.

What makes a Drug-Free Workplace Policy Important?

It sends a clear message that use of alcohol and drugs in the workplace is prohibited. It also encourages employees who have problems with alcohol and other drugs to voluntarily seek help.

What are the responsibilities of the trainers?

To maintain a safe, secure, and productive environment for employees. It is also important to evaluate and discuss performance with employees while treating everyone fairly.

What is Addiction?

The irresistible compulsion to use alcohol and other drugs despite adverse consequences. It is characterized by repeated failures to control use, increased tolerance and increased disruption to one’s well being.

What are the common performance problems that coincide with addiction?

Poor attendance- tardiness, unexplained absences, long breaks, etc. There may also be complaints from co-workers or customers.

What is the best approach when confronting the problem?

Tell the employee that you are concerned about his/her performance. State the problem and try to get the employee to acknowledge what you see as the problem. Set the time frame for performance improvement and explain what must be done to correct the problem. Specify the consequence if problem continues.

How is the employee protected?

Problems will not be made public. Conversations made with the HAC are private and will be protected in his/her personnel file.

How do I make an appointment?

Call Jessica Hammond at (301) 776-0404 or Diana Pinones at (410) 902-6844 in Spanish to arrange a confidential appointment.

Is there a cost?

There is no cost to horsemen or their immediate family members when meeting with the Horsemen’s Assistance Coordinator. However, if referrals are made to community resources, the HAC will work closely with individuals to find resources they can afford.

Where is the Horsemen’s Assistance Coordinator’s office located?

The Laurel office is located on the backstretch at Laurel on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The office in Pimlico will be open on Tuesdays.

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