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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use at Work

Abnormal behavior by employees may be an indicator of alcohol and illegal drug use  at work. This is especially true if the suspected employee has not exhibited any previous signs in the course of employment.

These signs may include poor work performance and attendance, apparent physical and emotional distress, and physical evidence of alcohol on the breath, liquor bottles, syringes and pills. Although these may be indicators of alcohol and illegal drug abuse, a conclusion should not be assumed as so without proper investigation since the same indicators may be associated with other circumstances.

Because drug and alcohol abuse are hard to justify, it is often much easier and less risky to fire the employee for poor performance or abuse of company facilities such as surfing the webor sending non work-related e-mails.

Alcohol and Drugs Story

The job performance of a computer operator slowly degraded over a period of four months. There was something obviously wrong since he had always been a good performer in the past. Gradually, more and more signs of a serious problem began to appear in the workplace. His attendance and adherence to core work-hours began to slip. Many days he would arrive at work late for the start of his shift, or disappear for periods of time. His physical appearance was more ragged and he looked very tiresome. He also had other outwardly visible signs such as his eyes were often reddened and his hands quivered. 

His manager had been meeting with him regularly to review his performance and bluntly asked him what was causing his poor work behaviors? He replied that he did not feel he had any performance issues. This was the same response he gave repeatedly over a period of time.

Occasionally, his co-workers noticed the smell of alcohol around him and the pieces of the puzzle started to come into place. His manager offered him the services of the company’s Employee Assistance Program for him to get advice on dealing with whatever the issue was.

He never took advantage of these opportunities to correct the situation and ended up being fired for poor performance after receiving several warnings.

The above book excerpt is from:

You're Fired! Firing Computer Professionals

The IT manager Guide for Terminating "With Cause"

ISBN 0-9744486-4-8

Robert Papaj


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