Drink Problem – We have an alcoholic in our team

Drink Problem
Drink Problem

Drink Problem

Does anyone in your team have a drink problem?

A reader sent in this question about a contractor in the team who has a problem with alcohol.

We have an alcoholic in our team, and although he is a very nice guy (and very sociable), and he is very able, there are times when it interferes with our work. For instance there are times when he doesn‘t get in until 11 o‘clock smelling of stale spirits and beer.

He is, of course, in Technical Support and we often have to send him out to customers‘ sites. He is also on overnight call once a week, and although we have had no problems so far, I worry that I may have to tell my boss one day that the overnight run had to be abandoned because of a technical problem and we couldn‘t get anybody out to fix it.

Please help me?

Dr. McLaughlin‘s Answer on Drink Problem

I think that what you should concentrate on is whether he is doing his job or not.

Although I drink very little myself, I recognize that if we were to sack everybody who came in smelling of booze after a night out, we would be in even greater need of foreign workers. I would concentrate on the areas where he is breaking the rules.

I presume that it is not OK to get in at 11 o‘clock in the morning. You must tell him that this is not acceptable.

Abstain From Alcohol on Call

Also, as is normal at many places, you must make it clear that it is expected that anyone who is on call, must abstain from alcohol on the night that they are on call. In fact you should write it into your contract of employment.

If he follows this, it is fine.

In law, you can‘t punish someone for believing that they might commit a crime. It is the same here. If he ever does let you down, though, either by not turning up as he is in a drunken stupor, or even if you hear that he has been drinking on an on-call night, then that is the time to come down on him like a ton of bricks.

It might be advisable though, to have a beer socially with him.

As you would be out of the office environment, it might be easier to bring the subject up with him there. Just make sure that you don‘t get in the next day at 11 o‘clock though.

You don’t want people to think you have a drink problem yourself.

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