Mind your own business!

Is the use of alcohol by your employees anything to do with you?

Well, it depends. You are probably thinking about your staff reporting for work hung over or perhaps returning late from a ‘liquid’ lunch and not in a suitable state to pursue the best interests of your business.

Maybe alcohol has relieved the person of their usual self control and the truth has come out. They have made it clear in no uncertain terms that they hate everything about you and have told that you can put your company where the sun is very unlikely to ever shine.

This will of course be easily resolved by your disciplinary procedure and in particular your directives in relation to alcohol, or will it?

What is your policy when it comes to alcohol? Do you have a policy at all and if you do what does it say? In simple terms, if there can ever be such a thing with the HSE, the rules go something like this,

If an employee has an accident at work whilst under the influence of alcohol and there is an alcohol policy in place the terms of which have been broken by the employee, then the employee is likely to be responsible for the consequences.

If however there is no alcohol policy in place, then the employer can be viewed as responsible because they have not made it clear from the outset what the rules are about the use of alcohol and how they are applied in relation to the contract of employment.

Alcohol can be a sensitive subject, particularly in the work place and offence can easily be caused by daring to question an individual’s drinking habits.  It is seen by some as ‘birthright’ and drinking alcohol is ingrained in many from an early age as an essential form ‘self medication’  necessary to survive the savage world of business.

My own alcohol policy was to drink as much of the stuff as it took to get the effect that I wanted and usually that was to escape the mental turmoil as my business collapsed before my very eyes. My drinking was of course contributing to the carnage, but as the boss I could set my own rules even if they did lead in part to my downfall.

Maybe I just need to mind my own business and leave you to manage yours, but without an effective alcohol policy in place you may not even be doing that.

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