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Four steps to dismiss a sozzled employee...

by , 08 June 2014
We all know at least one person that tends to 'drink a little too much'. The one we joke about that's holding up the walls as he unsteadily stumbles up the passage, because he can barely stand, let alone walk on his own. And we all have a good chuckle and make a few quips.

But that's on a personal level.

What do you do if that person pitches up at work drunk or reeking of booze? Endangering others? Causing a raucous maybe? You know you can't have him on your premises, and let's face it, you don't want him there either!

You also can't just dismiss him! Here are four steps you have to take first…  

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How to deal with an employee who's drunk at work…
Look into how drunk he is
If you can clearly see he's drunk, arrange for him to go home. You might have to get someone to drive him though! Tell him you'll take action when he returns to work the next day.
If he isn't actually drunk but clearly had a bender the night before, judge the working situation by asking yourself the following:
Will his staying at work affect other employees?
How productive will he be if he stays at work?
Will he have to deal with customers?
Is the working environment safe for someone in is condition?
Depending on your answers to these questions, you might be better off sending him home and dealing with him the next day. In both cases, make sure you have witnesses when you talk to. 
Ask him if he's drunk or under the influence. If he says no, then your job's easy... Take disciplinary action. Hold a disciplinary hearing, test for alcohol (or drugs), or make sure you have enough evidence to prove he was drunk. Then follow your disciplinary process.

But if he says yes... Then you have a whole different process to carry out. Keep reading...

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It's up to you to counsel the employee
Alcoholism's an addiction and you have to provide counselling to the employee. As part of your counselling, you must tell him what'll happen if he carries on like this. You also need to check if it's genuinely a once-off event or part of a much larger problem.
If it turns out that he is actually an alcoholic, then you have to try to get him to accept this and the fact that he needs to seek help to fight his addiction.
You then need to help him get the professional help he needs to get better. Make it a condition of future employment that he gets help and record it in the counselling minutes.
If your employee operates a vehicle or heavy machinery, and you've trained of the dangers of drinking while on duty, you can dismiss him on his first offence. For example, pilots aren't allowed to drink for eight hours before they fly and some airlines prohibit pilots from drinking for 12 hours before they fly. 

There's more to it than just this though. If you're a Labour Watch subscriber, we gave you a sample download of a alochol free workplace policy to implement. Not a subscriber? Click here to find out how you can benefit from it today...

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