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Stevie65

Alcohol in the workplace???

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I know of an INSURANCE OFFICE where the employees are provided and encouraged to drink alcohol on any afternoon of the week as they see fit.

Also, the employer takes most of them out to lunch, where they consume numerous alcoholic beverages over the course of 2-3 hours, and come back to their office to quote, issue, and process insurance policies and deal with clients (and most times are clearly intoxicated).  The employees of this office then drive home at the end of the day, and there were a few that had received DUI's on their way home from work.

Regardless of whether it is LEGAL or not that the employer provides this to his employees, is it ETHICAL or MORAL?

Since this employer has an "Employee Handbook" that states his employees must be drug-free, doesn't this also apply to alcohol?

Shouldn't this employer be held accountable for these actions?  And shouldn't there be a policy in place, somewhere, that the EMPLOYER needs to abide by, stating that his employees will remain ethical and NOT consume alcohol while on the job??

Who would be the correct agency to direct this information to... the Insurance Commissioner, OSHA, or their workers compensation carrier?

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Are you a current employee of this employer or a former employee?  If the latter, how long ago did you last work there?

 

 

Regardless of whether it is LEGAL or not that the employer provides this to his employees, is it ETHICAL or MORAL?

 

If you want to discuss ethics and morality, I suggest you find another site.  This is FINDLAW.

 

 

 

Since this employer has an "Employee Handbook" that states his employees must be drug-free, doesn't this also apply to alcohol?

 

Apparently not.

 

 

 

Shouldn't this employer be held accountable for these actions?

 

What actions?  I don't know of any state where a person's employer is held criminally liable because the employee gets a DUI as a result of drinking on the job or at employment related events.  If one of the intoxicated employees causes an accident, then the employer could be held liable in a civil court for damages.  If the persons in question are "clearly intoxicated" and their clients continue the business relationship notwithstanding, then the clients are assuming the risk that mistakes might be made.

 

 

 

shouldn't there be a policy in place, somewhere, that the EMPLOYER needs to abide by, stating that his employees will remain ethical and NOT consume alcohol while on the job?

 

A policy?  Issued by whom?  Do you mean a law?  What does "remain ethical" mean?  As far as a law that prohibits the consumption of alcohol on the job, I would be opposed to such a law for a number of reasons.

 

 

 

Who would be the correct agency to direct this information to... the Insurance Commissioner, OSHA, or their workers compensation carrier?

 

You are free to report whatever information you like to whomever you like.

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Hi stevie65,

 

It's not unheard of for alcohol to be provided to employees at work -- especially at many tech, startup, and advertising companies (ever seen Mad Men?). Actually, it's becoming a growing trend as employees put in longer and longer hours at work. Check out this article from the Huffington Post or this one from the Wall Street Journal. As you'll see from the articles, there are apparent pros and cons to the practice, but it's not illegal.

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I know of an INSURANCE OFFICE where the employees are provided and encouraged to drink alcohol on any afternoon of the week as they see fit.

Also, the employer takes most of them out to lunch, where they consume numerous alcoholic beverages over the course of 2-3 hours, and come back to their office to quote, issue, and process insurance policies and deal with clients (and most times are clearly intoxicated).  The employees of this office then drive home at the end of the day, and there were a few that had received DUI's on their way home from work.

Regardless of whether it is LEGAL or not that the employer provides this to his employees, is it ETHICAL or MORAL?

Since this employer has an "Employee Handbook" that states his employees must be drug-free, doesn't this also apply to alcohol?

Shouldn't this employer be held accountable for these actions?  And shouldn't there be a policy in place, somewhere, that the EMPLOYER needs to abide by, stating that his employees will remain ethical and NOT consume alcohol while on the job??

Who would be the correct agency to direct this information to... the Insurance Commissioner, OSHA, or their workers compensation carrier?

 

Why is this your business?

Do you work there? Were you fired? Were you excluded from the festivities?

Do you want revenge for something?

 

Seems to me that you ought to just mind your own business and get on with your life.

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I take offense and feel a little attacked over a couple of the responses.  "No, it's not illegal" would suffice without having to make me feel like a bad person for wanting the right thing to be done.

 

Why does it make a difference if I am an employee, a former employee, or just a concerned consumer?  Can't I just want for this agency to do what is RIGHT by abiding by the rules that the rest of us assume to follow as well? Is it wrong that I just want to prevent anyone else from getting screwed over by mistakes made at this agency?

 

I just know of a few people who have been burned by this agency, and mistakes happen when people are under the influence.  Just as one example, these insurance agents are telling the general public that they can't drink and drive, and yet they do it on a regular basis.

 

This office is located in a town with a population of about 3,000, so I highly doubt there is much stress or overtime, which some people believe justifies drinking alcohol.

 

So, because there is drinking being done on a TV show, must mean it can happen in reality, and it's ok for ME to go to work sloshed and not have to worry about it?  What about people who use heavy machinery and have dangerous jobs?  You think it should be ok for them to drink on the job???

 

Are there NO laws in place anywhere that states an employee can't go to work drunk?  What about all these employers that require drug testing before someone is hired... isn't that discrimination if they test positive for drugs?  In my opinion, alcohol IS a drug, so why is it different to be drunk at work than to be on, say, heroin??

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Sorry, but there is no law that prohibits drinking on the job, absent a few very industry specific, job specific cases such as over the road truckers. Alcohol is legal so hardly akin to providing your employees with heroin. It is still the responsibility of each individual to self monitor their consumption, just as it is off the clock. same goes with the ability to drive. The employer has no authority to force an employee to remain at work or stay of the road if they have overindulged. They may suggest that would be a good idea, but they can not hold employees hostage until they sober up and I doubt the employee break room has a breathalyzer.

 

We ask who you are in this scenario because even if not illegal, what recommendations we might offer depends on how you are associated with this company.  I am not sure how you know that the very mistakes your friends encountered were the direct result of the agent being under the influence at the time the decision was made. That is an awfully specific allegation and would imply that you have some sort of oversight or supervisory role at the organization. If that is the case, then there are things you might do. If you are the victim of a decision that is questionable, regardless of reason, then there are suggestions we can make.

 

There just isn't a law that disallows drinking on the job or prohibits an employer from providing alcohol. You might not like it, but they are acting legally. Whether you have a moral opposition to alcohol has no bearing. Your personal moral code does not stand in for the law.

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"No, it's not illegal" would suffice without having to make me feel like a bad person for wanting the right thing to be done.

 

No one can "make [you] feel" anything against your will, and reasonable persons disagree about what "the right thing" is.  You also didn't limit your questions to what is and isn't legal.

 

 

 

Why does it make a difference if I am an employee, a former employee, or just a concerned consumer?

 

It is often helpful to know why a particular situation is of concern to you and why you purport to know what's going on at this place.  For example, if folks at a company for which I don't work and never have worked and with which I don't do business and am not likely to do business are smoking a lot of pot in the workplace, I really couldn't care less.

 

 

 

Can't I just want for this agency to do what is RIGHT by abiding by the rules that the rest of us assume to follow as well?

 

Again, what is and isn't "right" is a matter about which reasonable persons often disagree.  I also don't know what "rules" you're talking about here.  The only "rules" mentioned in your original post were company policies.  Obviously, no one who isn't an employee of the company has to abide by the company's policies, so are you confirming that you're a current or former employee?

 

 

 

Is it wrong that I just want to prevent anyone else from getting screwed over by mistakes made at this agency?

 

This suggests that you believe you have been "screwed over by mistakes made at this agency," so maybe you're a customer or former customer.  Might be more productive to tell us what happened to you and ask what recourse you might have.

 

 

 

I just know of a few people who have been burned by this agency, and mistakes happen when people are under the influence.  Just as one example, these insurance agents are telling the general public that they can't drink and drive, and yet they do it on a regular basis.

 

That's not a mistake; it's hypocrisy.

 

 

 

So, because there is drinking being done on a TV show, must mean it can happen in reality, and it's ok for ME to go to work sloshed and not have to worry about it?

 

Now you're being intentionally silly because this obviously isn't what you were told.  Making ridiculous leaps like this aren't going to improve the sorts of responses you receive.

 

 

 

What about people who use heavy machinery and have dangerous jobs?  You think it should be ok for them to drink on the job?

 

I doubt anyone thinks that, but your question concerned folks who work in an office and for whom the heaviest piece of machinery they use is a photocopier.  What might be appropriate or acceptable in an office environment certainly may not be appropriate or acceptable at a construction site or in a hospital.

 

 

 

Are there NO laws in place anywhere that states an employee can't go to work drunk?

 

I think every state has a law against being drunk in public.  And, obviously, there are laws against drunk driving.  But there's no law in any state that says an employee cannot arrive at his/her place of employment and proceed to get s***faced.  If you want to advocate to your state's legislators to enact such a law, you are free to do so.  I don't think you'll be successful, but you never know.

 

 

 

What about all these employers that require drug testing before someone is hired... isn't that discrimination if they test positive for drugs?

 

Sure.  However, most discrimination is perfectly legal.  It is only illegal if it is done on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, etc.

 

 

 

In my opinion, alcohol IS a drug, so why is it different to be drunk at work than to be on, say, heroin??

 

NEWS FLASH:  Your opinions don't control how the world works (nor do mine).  If you don't comprehend the difference between alcohol and heroin, then I suggest you do a bit of basic research.  Of course, the most obvious and important difference is that one is legal and the other is not.

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 What about people who use heavy machinery and have dangerous jobs?  You think it should be ok for them to drink on the job???

 

As with much in life, different circumstances call for differing rules. An office worker having some alcohol on the job isn’t likely to cause any serious injury to anyone. Someone operating heavy machinery while under the influence of alcohol, on the other hand, can cause serious injury or death to others. As a result, I'd not be bothered by an insurance rep having some drinks in the office, but would see a problem with a heavy crane operator drinking on the job.

 

 

Are there NO laws in place anywhere that states an employee can't go to work drunk?

 

Sure there are, but they are limited to certain occupations and circumstances. An airline pilot and commercial truck driver certainly cannot pilot a plane or drive their trucks while intoxicated. The reason for that is obvious: drunk pilots and drivers pose a serious safety threat to the public. The office worker, however, doesn't pose any threat to the public merely drinking in the office. Laws should be tailored to fit the particular circumstances involved. There should not be a complete ban on all employees drinking on the job when the real threat to public safety involves only a small number of occupations. 

 

 

 

In my opinion, alcohol IS a drug, so why is it different to be drunk at work than to be on, say, heroin??

 

There are lots of drugs, and their effects vary widely. Most drugs do not cause any impaired ability at all. Some do, but the extent of impairment varies a lot. Again, we ought to take a look at the particular circumstances and tailor the law to that instead of enacting broad bans to deal with the few problem cases. It doesn't make sense to ban an employee from using all drugs at work. A lot of drugs employees need to take for their health, for example. You wouldn't suggest banning an employee from taking allergy medication or prescribed anitbiotics at work, would you? Those are drugs too, so if you would not ban those then you are not against the use of all drugs at work. The issue then is to determine what drugs to ban. Most employers who have any drug policy will limit it to use of ILLEGAL drugs. So the most obvious answer to your question above is that heroin is illegal and alcohol is not. 

 

If you want, you may urge your state to ban all alcohol use at work. I'd expect that in most states you’d encounter a lot of opposition to that idea, though. 

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