Alcohol in the Workplace

We made a lot of adjustments while working from home during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen tables, and even couches transformed into our office space. The proper work attire no longer mattered as much…neither did waiting until 5 o’clock to start happy hour. Now, physically back at work, we are finally changing out of pajamas but not changing our drinking habits.

The pandemic drove an increase in alcohol use. In April 2020, liquor stores reported a rise of 54% in alcohol sales. For the first time in many states, you could order alcohol to be delivered to your home, resulting in a 234% increase of online alcohol sales.1 Now, more than two years later, those habits that started at home are becoming a part of regular work routines.

Culture of Drinking With Co-workers

People haven’t been shy about fessing up to having a drink or two during work hours. According to a study conducted by American Addiction Centers (AAC), 66% of employees admitted to drinking alcohol while on the job.

Greenhouse Treatment Center Outpatient Clinical Director, Courtney Messina, says we need to be very concerned with that number.

“Alcohol is the most used and abused drug in the United States,” says Messina.

Messina says she is not surprised by the statistics and emphasizes there is a culture of drinking embedded in the workplace and some may feel pressure to participate. Her advice is to make it easier for employees to ask for help.

“Supervisors and Managers should invest the time to get to know their staff and this may offer a greater likely hood of them coming forward and being honest if they have a problem with alcohol,” said Messina.

“If we can create a culture that is willing to help, we can help people recover.”

Signs That a Coworker May Have a Problem with Alcohol

Alcohol use in the workplace can lead to carelessness on the job and to situations that may put employees in harm’s way. Finding yourself or a coworker drinking on the job is a clear warning sign that shouldn’t be ignored.

Other signs of alcohol use in the workplace may include:2

  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • The smell of alcohol on the breath.
  • Irritability or agitation.
  • Carelessness.
  • Frequently being late or absent.
  • Noticeable drop in job performance/increased mistakes or carelessness.
  • Change in professional appearance or hygiene.
  • Not following safety rules.
  • Disappearing from the workplace.

Using Employee Medical Leave for Addiction Treatment

Many employees may be hesitant to discuss There are multiple laws that protect workers seeking addiction treatment. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, employees can be eligible to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to receive treatment for a substance use disorder.3 In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that employers cannot discriminate against someone because they have a history of substance use and are in recovery or they are enrolled in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program; however, it does not protect an employee who is currently using drugs in the workplace.3

If you are looking for alcohol or drug rehab in the Dallas area, there are treatment options available at our Greenhouse Facility




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