Al­co­hol abuse in the work­place

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

WHEN it comes to al­co­hol and sub­stance abuse rules and reg­u­la­tions, there is no one-s-ize-fits-all. In other words, the onus is on you as part of man­age­ment to draw up a pol­icy that can be com­mu­ni­cated to your em­ploy­ees should they break com­pany rules.

One of the main things you’ll need to take into con­sid­er­a­tion is that your pol­icy needs to be tai­lor-made to suit your type of or­gan­i­sa­tion. What this sim­ply means is that the rules you set for em­ploy­ees en­gaged in haz­ardous oc­cu­pa­tions, will be dif­fer­ent from those you out­line for em­ploy­ees in­volved in less dan­ger­ous oc­cu­pa­tions.

How so? Well, the cir­cum­stances that th­ese em­ploy­ees find them­selves in de­mand a dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion in the ac­cept­able level of blood al­co­hol. For in­stance, an of­fice worker who’s con­sumed any al­co­hol 24 hours prior to start­ing his job, is less of dan­ger than say, a bus driver who has a much higher po­ten­tial of in­jur­ing pas­sen­gers, should he too con­sume any al­co­hol be­fore go­ing on shift.

In your pol­icy also in­clude rules re­gard­ing al­co­hol con­sump­tion off the of­fice premises dur­ing work­ing hours, and rules reg­u­lat­ing al­co­hol con­sump­tion for man­agers and ex­ec­u­tives, dur­ing busi­ness trips and the like.

An em­ployee does not have to nec­es­sar­ily have con­sumed a suf­fi­cient amount of al­co­hol to be over the limit. Even if from a whiff you sus­pect that your em­ployee had a few, it can be con­sid­ered an act of mis­con­duct.

Should it be so, you may dis­miss your em­ployee af­ter fol­low­ing a fair pro­ce­dure.

What if your em­ployee is de­pen­dent on al­co­hol?

You can sug­gest as­sis­tance, coun­selling or re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion in sit­u­a­tions where em­ploy­ees show a gen­uine need to be helped or, it can be rea­son­ably con­cluded that the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gramme will re­sult in em­ployee show­ing a com­mit­ment to over­com­ing his drink­ing prob­lem.

In sit­u­a­tions where you’ve done all you can do to as­sist your em­ployee and they still choose to go back to the bot­tle, then your part is done. The next step is to fol­low pro­ce­dures as stip­u­lated in the com­pany pol­icy, and if nec­es­sary, dis­miss that em­ployee.

If your em­ployee re­fuses any as­sis­tance and out­right de­nies hav­ing a drink­ing prob­lem, if their drink­ing habits af­fect their out­put at work or they are ab­sent too of­ten, then there is a prob­lem that needs to be dealt with be­fore it es­ca­lates.

When you sus­pect an em­ployee is an al­co­holic, whose drink­ing prob­lem is af­fect­ing his per­for­mance, the first thing to do will be to fish out im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion from his man­ager: How a long has the prob­lem per­sisted? Specif­i­cally in what way is it af­fect­ing the job pro­cesses? How fre­quently is he ab­sent or late be­cause of this prob­lem? How fre­quently does he go off sick? Armed with enough in­for­ma­tion, you should call a meet­ing with the em­ployee and any key man­age­ment to dis­cuss your find­ings.

Make sure to take down ev­ery de­tail of the meet­ing pro­ceed­ings, in­clud­ing how the em­ployee has sug­gested to over­come his/her prob­lem.

Also pro­vide a date by which he must com­ply with what­ever has been agreed to, and a warn­ing stat­ing that should he fail to achieve the re­quired work per­for­mance stan­dard by a rea­son­able time frame, then fur­ther pro­ce­dures will fol­low which may lead to his dis­missal.

WHEN it comes to al­co­hol and sub­stance abuse rules and reg­u­la­tions, there is no one-size-fits-all.

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