Alcohol misuse is an ever-increasing problem within the workplace. Statistics show that employees who drink excessively, or inappropriately, in relation to work are more likely to endanger their fellow workers, have accidents at work, be absent from work and be less efficient than colleagues who do not do so.
Aims of the policy
The employees of the Company are its most valuable assets. The Company recognises that for a number of reasons, employees could develop alcohol related problems during the course of their employment. The aims of this policy are to:
Promote a responsible attitude to drinking within the Company by:
- Encouraging safe and sensible drinking habits.
- Making known to employees the harmful effects of the excessive consumption of ?alcohol.
- Minimising problems and accidents at work arising from alcohol and its misuse.
Promoting the well-being and health of employees
Offer assistance and advice to employees who need it by:
- Identifying employees with possible problems relating to alcohol misuse at an early stage.
- Offering guidance and , where required, actively encouraging employees with possible problems to seek appropriate help.
- Offering employees known to have alcohol related problems affecting their work, referral to an appropriate agency for diagnosis.
Prohibition on alcohol consumption in the workplace:
Social drinking is, of course, a personal matter and does not directly concern the Company, although the Company is keen to raise the level of awareness amongst staff of the risks of alcohol abuse. The Company’s concern only arises when, because of the pattern or amount of drink involved, the employee’s health, work or attitude. ?Even a small amount of alcohol can affect work performance and, if an employee is found under the influence of alcohol at work, there could be serious safety, work and personal consequences (see the section on misconduct). ?No alcohol must be brought onto or consumed on Company premises during normal working hours, which includes, for this purpose, lunchtimes. Staff must not drink alcohol if they are required to drive private or Company vehicles on business. Staff must also not drink alcohol when they are on operational standby or on call. ?Staff representing the Company at business function, providing hospitality or attending organised social events outside normal working hours will be expected to be moderate if drinking alcohol and to take specific action to ensure they are well within the legal limits if they are driving.
Advice and counselling
It is the Company’s intention to deal constructively and sympathetically with an employee’s alcohol-related problems, such as alcohol dependency. When it is known that an employee has an alcohol problem, we will be able to provide advice and guidance on how to seek assessment of the problem and, if necessary, suitable treatment. The primary objective of any discussions of this type will be to assist the employee with the problem in as compassionate and constructive way as possible.
Whilst in certain personnel records will be necessary, any discussions of the nature of an employee’s alcohol problems and the records of any treatment will be strictly confidential unless the employee agrees otherwise.
This policy, for assisting employees with alcohol-related problems, is separate from the Company’s disciplinary procedures. However, action will be taken under the disciplinary procedure if misconduct takes place at work as a result of drinking or if an employee is found to be under the influence of alcohol whilst at work. If an employee is known to be, or strongly suspected of being, intoxicated by alcohol during working hours, arrangements will be made for the employee to be sent home for the rest of the day without pay.
Incapacity through an excess of alcohol at work is a gross misconduct offence under the disciplinary procedure and the employee is therefore liable to be summarily dismissed.
Where an employee with an identified alcohol problem which affects conduct at work or performance at work refuses the opportunity to receive help, the matter will be referred for action through the disciplinary procedure as appropriate. Likewise, if after accepting counselling and assistance, and following review and evaluation, the conduct or work performance reverts to the problem level, the matter may also be dealt with through the disciplinary procedure.
On the grounds of protecting health and safety and only where necessary to achieve a legitimate business aim, the Company reserves the right to carry out random alcohol screening tests on employees in the workplace whose activities and job duties have a significant impact on the health and safety of others. The guidelines promulgated in the Company’s equal opportunities policy are to be followed in relation to alcohol screening.
If an employee receives a positive test result, as stated above, this will be viewed as a potential gross misconduct offence and renders the employee liable to summary dismissal. Refusal to submit to an alcohol screening test without reasonable excuse will be dealt with through the disciplinary procedure.
They will be made aware of the effects of alcohol misuse and will be encouraged not to cover up for employees with an alcohol problem but to recognise that collusion is a false sense of loyalty.