If you’re an employer, manager, supervisor, or boss, chances are you will at some point have to deal with an employee’s alcoholism. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, there are approximately 19 million adults classified with dependence or abuse. Of this group, more than 50 percent of them are employed.
Unfortunately, many individuals in management or supervisory positions miss the early, often subtle signs of alcohol abuse. Often, the only clue is a physical symptom like bloodshot eyes or residual alcohol smell. Others may miss a few more days than normal or come into the office late.
While the symptoms may seem minor, the reality is that the ramifications of an employee with alcohol addiction can be significant. This can range from a loss of productivity to costly or even dangerous mistakes made on the job. In other words, no company can afford to turn a blind eye to this employee problem.
Steps You Need to Take If You Believe You Have an Alcoholic Employee
There are several important steps you and your company need to take if you suspect your employee is struggling with alcoholism.
If you suspect that an employee may be struggling with alcohol abuse, the first thing to do is gather resources. It’s important to have educational materials and recommended sources for help. This can include a list of treatment facilities and support groups in the area. This information isn’t just important for the person suffering from addiction, it’s valuable to all of your employees.
If your company offers health insurance, it’s wise to contact your insurance company to determine if treatment is covered and to find out local providers in the community that can help and will take the insurance.
Insurance coverage is notoriously spotty when it comes to substance abuse treatment. Thus, it’s important to find out all the information you can so that you can encourage the employee to get help.
Obtain Legal Assistance
In some cases, it is necessary to terminate an employee who cannot function in their job due to alcoholism. You will want to ensure that your company policies comply with state and federal employment laws.
The wrong decision is to simply avoid the problem. Substance abuse rarely goes away on its own. If you believe that an employee is showing signs of alcoholism, the problem needs to be addressed right away. This should be a private conversation, in which you can review policies, express concern, and offer resources.
In many cases, if their job is in jeopardy, an employee will seek out the assistance they need to deal with the problem.
Are you an employer or an employee facing the challenges of alcohol addiction? Call Summit Behavioral Health today to learn about our alcohol treatment center in New Jersey.