Employers face a unique challenge when faced with the reality of having an alcoholic employee. There are many factors in considering what the best course of action is. A few alcoholics are actually functioning alcoholics. They rarely miss work and do not drink on the job. Yet, it may come to the employer’s attention that they are indeed an alcoholic. The employer is on shaky ground in this instance because their alcoholism may not interfere with their work. Many employers will offer advice and help to the employee. This can be beneficial since they are otherwise good workers. Expressing concern and offering time off for rehab would be an excellent way of dealing with the employee in this case.
More often, the case is much more obvious. Employees drinking before, during and after work are in no shortage. If this is the case, the alcoholic is posing a danger not only to himself, but to others in the workplace. Much more drastic action must often be taken in this instance by the employer. By all means, a suggestion of rehabilitation and perhaps a shot at getting their job back after successful completion would be a very good idea. No one likes the thought of burdening the alcoholic with unemployment, but often, it is the only answer. Often, when confronted, the alcoholic will vow never to show up to the job drunk or drink on the job again. Chances are, they will.
Alcoholics cost businesses money. They also often call in due to the alcoholism which sends the employer scrambling to find a replacement. Alcoholics are victim of and cause more accidents on the job than non-alcoholics. The employer has other employees to be concerned about as well. Again, offering assistance in finding a rehab would certainly show humanity in this difficult situation.
Different companies have different policies concerning alcoholism in the workplace. Some do offer a warning or two. Others terminate the employment immediately. The employer should carefully weigh the consequences of both keeping an alcoholic on the payroll and firing them. Although an employer may wish the best for the alcoholic, business is business. The workplace is not an appropriate place for a staggering alcoholic. Most employers opt to take the employee aside and keep the situation as private as possible, although coworkers often already know there is a problem. Getting help lies on the shoulders of the alcoholic, not the employer.