Effects of Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace

Alcohol abuse in the workplace affects approximately 15% or 19.2 million workers in the U.S. This number includes drinking on the job, before work, and throughout the workday. The effects of alcohol abuse in the workplace can negatively impact workers, including  job loss, injuries, addiction, loss of productivity, and fatalities.

Of course, no one wants to be an alcoholic in the workplace, but this title can sneak its way into your life because drinking is normalized in society and many industries. Alcohol abuse is on the riseand while you may not be drinking in the workplace yourself, chances are you might know someone who does.

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Can you get Fired for Drinking at Work?

Yes, you can be fired for physically drinking on the job or if you cannot perform your job tasks because of drinking. While the ADA anti-discrimination laws protect you from discrimination for being an alcoholic, that does not protect you from firing for being impaired on the job.

Can you be Fired for Drinking off the Clock?

The short answer is yes. You can be fired for drinking off the clock or alcohol abuse. However, the lines are blurred, and laws are dependent on what state you work in, your employment contract, and your employer’s discretion.

Signs Someone is Drunk at Work

Alcohol abuse in the workplace can be dangerous. If you suspect one of your coworkers might be drunk at work, there are some signs you should look out for.

What to look for:

1.) The frequent smell of alcohol

2.) Difficulty walking

3.) Bloodshot eyes or daytime sleeping

4.) Frequently late or absent from work

5.) Unexpected decline in work quality

6.) Constantly using mouth wash, mints, and cologne (or perfume)

7.) Comes to work hungover frequently

8.) Concealing alcohol at work (in bottles or containers)

While this is not an extensive list, this general guide will offer some insight as to whether your coworker might be struggling with alcoholism in the workplace.

Is Absenteeism an Indicator of Substance Abuse?

Determining if You’re a High Functioning Alcoholic

If you’re a functioning alcoholic, also known as a high-functioning alcoholic, it might be hard to label your drinking as a problem. However, functioning doesn’t mean thriving, and getting help is a great way to take back control of your life and your health. If you are not sure whether or not you might be a high-functioning alcoholic, take this quiz to get more insight.

How Does Alcohol Abuse Affect The Workplace?

Alcohol abuse affects the workplace in several ways. For one, alcoholism can increase the number of sick days taken and affect employee’s work performance. There is also the potential for increased workplace injuries, absenteeism, and can directly impact company culture.

How to Help Some You Suspect is an Alcoholic in the Workplace

Substance abuse in the workplace is a growing issue, and chances are you might know someone who is an alcoholic in the workplace. When addressing this matter with your coworker or manager, remember that alcohol can stay in the system for up to 48 hours, with traces in the blood lasting about 12 hours.

This information highlights the urgency of providing timely support and assistance. Ensuring they receive the help they need can significantly impact their well-being and their ability to perform effectively.

The most common situations people run into when dealing with addiction in the workplace are:

Are Alcoholics a Protected Class?

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How to deal with Alcoholism in the Workplace

If you are suffering from alcoholism, you might be protected under the ADA, and your employer will be required to allow time off for treatment.  To learn more check out the ADA website.

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How to Approach a Coworker About a Problem with Drinking

It is always best to reach out to a supervisor or your HR department before confronting a fellow employee. If you have a close relationship with this person, consider speaking outside of work and use facts not feelings to discuss your concerns.

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Supporting Employees with Alcohol Problems

Support and compassion are essential when dealing with an alcoholic in the workplace. Refer to company policy and offer helpful resources for recovery.

Getting Treatment for Alcoholism in the Workplace

The effects of alcohol abuse in the workplace can be expensive and lead to absenteeism and job injuries. Therefore, having access to support and alcohol abuse treatment options is essential to recovery.

Whether you are dealing with alcohol abuse in the workplace or you know someone who is, finding the right substance abuse treatment program can make a huge difference. Check with your HR department as there are ways to get treatment while still keeping your job.

At The Hope House we offer personalized treatment options that work specifically with the individual in a luxury environment, so clients feel comfortable and their treatment is built around their needs. If you need support on your recovery journey, we are always here to help you with alcohol abuse treatment.

Not Sure Where to Start? Speak with our addiction specialists today.