Alcohol In The Workplace
Alcohol in the workplace has become a problem for many businesses and as a result, businesses are taking steps to create an alcohol free office environment. Although most businesses have a zero tolerance for alcohol use in the workplace, they will make every effort to try to get the employee help, or give the employee a chance to get it together before they are terminated.
Alcohol and Drug Testing
Random substance abuse testing is one method that an increasing number of professional industries use to spot check their employees. Random alcohol and drug tests are implemented through urine analysis and because they are random, the employee has no way of knowing when they will be tested. This is done to prevent the employee the chance to clean their system through one of the over the counter system cleaning or home detoxification methods and also from checking into a detox center.
Many employees believe that the random drug and alcohol test is an invasion of their privacy, however from the employer’s perspective the test is supposed to act as a preventative measure to cut back on the number or workplace accidents due to employees working while under the influence due to impaired judgment because of substance abuse.
Protecting the Employer’s Assets
If the employer notices the signs of substance abuse such as the employee is habitually tardy to work, or is more often a no-show, or if their appearance has taken a decline in personal hygiene, or they smell of alcohol; the employee may require a urine test. The reason for this is that the employee could be a liability to the company if the behavior goes unchecked. Employees who have access to company assets, for example company credit cards, company cars, spending accounts or if they operate machinery; could cause a business to go bankrupt if an accident or death occurred as a result of their substance use.
Industries Where Alcohol is the Norm
On the other hand, there are certain industries that make alcohol use part of the job. This practice is especially true in publishing, advertising, investing, politics and sales. For many individuals working in fields that alcohol is part of entertaining clients and who also struggle with alcohol abuse; trying to walk the straight and narrow by abstaining can be difficult and even cause damage to their careers.
If prospective clients, employers and coworkers discover that the individual is “on the wagon” or have never used alcohol they may be perceived as not part of the team. There is a stigma attached that if they do not drink alcohol, they will not be able to achieve a certain level of success or will not be able to play the game as well. The individual feels that there is a certain amount of pressure to conform or face the consequences.
Businesses Can Promote a Policy of No Alcohol
Businesses can avoid these problems if they adopt a policy of giving the employee a choice of whether to participate or not. Another viable option is to make alcohol use awareness part of the training program at work in an effort to bring attention to the dangers of alcohol abuse. Since most insurance plans cover detox and rehab, setting a day aside to have company-wide training on alcohol use in the workplace and outside of the workplace is an effective method to take care of employees.