Alcohol in the workplace

Few employers miss the opportunity to celebrate a company milestones or employee success. Often this will involve – alcohol, whether in the workplace, or with informal drinks after work. Increasingly, however, events involving alcohol can leave some colleagues potentially feeling discriminated against.

Last week was Alcohol Awareness Week and 121 HR Solutions took the opportunity to consider when and if alcohol is appropriate in the workplace.  Our workshop, Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace, in Glasgow on 15th August and in Montrose on 16th August provides valuable insight into this subject.

Work should allow employees from all backgrounds to feel included. A work-related social event is, whether we like it or not, an extension of the workplace and normal procedures apply. This means that if you have an employee who doesn’t drink, due to health, religious, or personal reasons you must seek to ensure that they are not excluded. 

Examples of when discrimination could arise include overlooking an employee for promotion if he or she does not take part in after work nights out (even if the two things are unrelated).   The other issue, regularly dealt with by 121 HR Solutions, occurs when inappropriate behaviour or harassment at work events occurs as the result of an employee having too much to drink at a work event. 

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has recommended that employers reduce the amount of alcohol available at work events and most half of employees agree with this!

60% of employers report having experienced issues relating to their employee’s alcohol habits and so offering alcohol at work events could be seen to exacerbate this.

Employers should have a policy on drugs, alcohol, and other substances. This should also include rules around prescription and over-the-counter medications that impact on performance.

To take part in our Drugs & Alcohol in the Workplace workshops on 18th and 19th August, please book here: Events for August 2023 | 121HR Solutions – Glasgow.


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