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5 Tips for Handling Alcoholic Behavior in Employees

by Olufisayo
Published: Last Updated on
Alcoholic Behavior in Employees

When we think of harmful drugs, images of crack cocaine and heroin may enter the mind. But, in many regards, alcohol is far more dangerous than any other drug.

Alcohol is easy to find, socially acceptable to use, and usage is typically seen as a right of passage among young people.

But what happens when alcoholic behavior starts to make its way into the workplace? Well, it can be a recipe for disaster if you don’t know how to handle it.

To make sure the situation goes smoothly, follow these five steps.

1. Document Behavioral Issues

Seeing an employee demonstrate alcoholic behavior can be quite alarming. Though you may want to act sooner rather than later, it’s important to have clear, documented proof if any issues arise.

Common signs of alcohol use in the workplace include:

  • Excessive bathroom or smoke breaks
  • An increase in simple errors
  • Dozing off on the job
  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot eyes

Keep a record of these instances in a safe area where only you can access it.

2. Read Up on Employee Rights

No matter how frustrated or alarmed you are (and justifiably so), it’s important to remember that your employee has rights.

It’s illegal to fire an employee for alcoholism, for instance. However, it isn’t illegal to take disciplinary action based on performance or misconduct.

Employees also have the right to requires a leave of absence to seek treatment. The Family Medical Leave Act dictates that employees can request up to 12 weeks off for serious medical conditions that prohibit them from doing their job.

3. Look into an Employee Assistance Program

If you don’t have major funding upfront, an employee assistance program may seem like something you can leave to the wayside. However, assistance programs can make a world of difference in difficult cases like alcoholism in at work personnel.

A quality assistance program will offer Drug and Alcohol Program Management, which covers drug screenings and allow you to see the results online.

4. Speak with Human Resources

With your background tasks finished, it’s time to move toward addressing the employee personally. However, before you do, you’ll need to contact your company’s HR rep.

In some instances, it’s required for HR to be on-hand for an employee’s firing, as conflict management is a core aspect of their job. A rep can also give helpful tips on when and how to best address the employee in question.

5. Confront the Employee

Once you’ve consulted your HR team, you’ll have to take the issue up directly with the employee. No doubt, this will be an awkward situation.

However, failing to address your concerns could result in serious injury or cause harm to your company, so the sooner you handle things, the better.

Make sure to bring your list of concerns so you can provide evidence to your claims. You’ll also need to ensure that the conversation occurs in a secure location where other employees cannot overhear.

What to Do When Alcoholic Behavior Interferes with the Workplace

Seeing alcoholic behavior occur in the workplace can be downright infuriating. But it’s important to remember to handle it through the appropriate channels.

Keep these tips in mind and offer your employee help. Addiction is a disease and a little kindness can go a long way. Read more facts about alcoholism here.

For more information on handling difficult employees, or running your business in general, make sure to check back with our blog.

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