When individuals suffer from high-functioning alcoholism, they attempt to go about their regular lives while under the influence. Alcohol intoxication hinders the drinker’s motor skills and ability to think and make rational decisions. Likewise, high-functioning alcoholic individuals risk the chance of hurting themselves and others every time they leave their home. Some individuals even become so dependent on alcohol that they begin drinking on the job. Above all, alcohol and other forms of substance abuse do not belong in the workplace. There are no exceptions.

Employees caught using alcohol at their job are usually fired on the spot. However, this only occurs after they have risked the safety of other employees and the reputation of the company. Therefore, it is imperative to recognize the potential signs of a high-functioning alcoholic employee before any damages take place.

Excessive Tardies or Absences

Is your employee repeatedly coming in late for work? Or even worse, are they not showing up at all? Then there may be a deeper issue present. Of course, they could simply be an irresponsible employee. Nevertheless, if their excessive absences are coupled with the following signs, then you are probably dealing with a functioning alcoholic.

Frequent Breaks

Some employees take more breaks than others, and there are many reasons for stepping out. However, when you suspect that your employee is a functioning alcoholic, you will want to make a note of their appearance and mood upon returning from their break. A flushed face and a behavior change are obvious signs to keep in mind.

Noticeable Smell of Alcohol

The smell of alcohol on their breath or in the vicinity of their workspace is the most telling sign of functioning alcoholic employees. Of course, there is always the possibility that the smell resulted from a previous night of drinking. However, a fresh scent of alcohol could mean that the employee is drinking on the job. If this is the case, they are risking the safety of  other employees. They are also putting at risk your company’s reputation. For example, if the suspected employee is responsible for operating heavy machinery, severe injury or even death could occur. Therefore, any time you notice the smell of alcohol in the workplace, you should make efforts to discover the employee responsible.

Other Physical Signs

In addition to a smell of alcohol, high-functioning alcoholic individuals display several other physical signs that could indicate they are drinking in the workplace. For example, everyone is tired and cranky in the morning, but if you notice the presence of bloodshot eyes and a red, swollen face, your employee may be experiencing a hangover. Likewise, bloodshot eyes and a red face could suggest that they have just had a drink. Other physical signs of a functioning alcoholic include slurred speech, loss of coordination or balance, poor judgment skills, and decreased work quality.

Prevent Alcoholism in the Workplace with Background Checks

When an employee is consuming alcohol before or during working hours, their termination comes soon after. However, now you have lost an employee. To ensure that the next employee you hire and all future employees do not possess a history of alcohol and other substance abuse issues, consider including background checks into your company’s hiring process.

With the inclusion of background checks, you can know exactly what type of person you are considering hiring before doing so. In addition, as over half of all resumes contain falsified information, employers get the chance to verify a job applicant’s qualifications in addition to their criminal records.

Do you need to drug test your employees? At Soteria Screening Laboratories, we can help. We provide all kinds of alcohol tests. Let us help you.

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