The Risks Of Drinking On The Job

Dangers Of Drinking At Work



Drinking On The Job
Drinking at work can have serious consequences for both employer and employee



As an employer, the risks of employees drinking on the job are numerous. It's not only those actually physically consuming alcohol on the premises that can be a problem, either.

Risks are present from those who drink before they arrive at work, go off at lunchtime and drink before returning to work and even those who drank too much the night before. These risks don't only affect the employer and his/her bottom line, but the rest of the employees, as well.


Alcohol related issues include:

  • Safety
  • Absenteeism and tardiness
  • Poor performance
  • Bad behavior
  • Impacts on the morale of co-workers
  • Negative image for the company
Naturally, when drinking at work occurs, the employer can safely take action against the offending employee.

It is rare to see an employee manual that doesn't specifically state that drinking on the job is strictly prohibited. Typically, the same manual will outline the disciplinary actions to follow should an employee be found to be drinking on the job.


Drinking on the job displays a loss of control over alcohol, and may well be a sign of alcohol dependence. Maybe it's time to take an alcoholism test.


What An Employee Can Expect If Caught

In some cases, a company may handle things in a more lenient manner, particularly if they believe an employee is of value to the company and will be hard to replace. In this case the employer may require the employee to go to a residential alcohol treatment center or undergo outpatient alcoholism treatment.

Another option might be that the employee gets an official warning and is on probation at work, if they drink on the job again then more serious action will be taken.



The above attitude to drinking at work is relatively rare and most companies will terminate the work contract of any employee found drinking at work. It is usually irrelevant as to the amount of alcohol consumed by the employee as any amount will detract from performance. Whether one beer or a six-pack, the employee will most often find himself hat-in-hand, without a job from that moment on.

If the employee caught drinking on the job is part of a union or has a particularly good contract with an employer, they might be lucky enough to keep their job but there will still be stern consequences. At the very least, record of the incident will go in the employee's personnel file and usually there will be a written reprimand.

Some companies may have a suspension process set up, such as you often find with the police or fire department. In those cases, the employees will face a suspension, usually without pay, for a certain period of time before being able to return to work.


Drinking At Work Affects Your Performance

If you are someone who takes a quick drink at work or has a few beers at lunch before returning to work, have you thought about the potential consequences of your actions?

Whether you think so or not, it has been scientifically demonstrated that alcohol impairs the judgment and the reflexes. Therefore, you will be more prone to making bad decisions and poor choices that could reflect in your job performance, no matter what the job duties may entail.

Impairment of the reflexes can easily result in an accident occurring. You could injure yourself or others without meaning to. Not only would you have to face the consequences of possible termination of employment, you could face permanent disability from injuries. Even worse, what if the permanent disability was to happen to a co-worker due to your impaired functioning? You would have to live with that guilt for the rest of your life. You could even be sued by the co-worker or the insurance company as a result of your drinking on the job.




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If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:



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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)






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