Working with a possible alcoholic

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Latest post Mon, Jun 27 2016 10:19 AM by karen2222. 11 replies.
  • Fri, May 13 2016 7:33 PM

    • jhar223
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    Working with a possible alcoholic

    Putting all my points in a timeline to make it easy. Please give me advice on best way to proceed:


    2014 - Started noticing direct coworker, Employee A, seemed off at work. Slow slurring words and breath smelling like alcohol.


    A couple months after noticing seemingly drunk tendencies, there was also lazy behavior setting in. Employee A would leave tasks incomplete and I would end up finishing them. Employee A was extremely unpredictable - would not show up for meetings, constantly late, etc..


    mid 2014 - Employee A started getting worse. I kept taking on more work and covering. I had not told anyone within the company about this yet.


    end of 2014 - I was basically doing 2 people's jobs. All client interactions, contracts, follow-ups etc.. Employee A started being very rude to me, calling me incompetent while also taking credit for my work. The inebriation during work hours seemed to be getting worse - 4-5 times a week, after lunch mostly. Red eyes, inability to make eye contact, lethargy, and smell were the main points to make me feel as though alcohol and pills were involved.


    Beginning of 2015 - Reported this to HR. Had a candid discussion with HR mgr about concerns regarding Employee A. HR documented and told me to talk to my direct manager openly.


    Throughout first quarter of 2015: Dealt with this and kept my direct manager informed every time I could tell something was off with Employee A. Manager was very supportive and open to listening to all of my concerns. Told me I was valued, important, and that they were grateful I was doing so much work to cover.


    Mid 2015: Employee A was belligerent at work and manager was out. HR mgr was also out. I decided to call Employee Relations. Following weeks were filled with meetings and I had to provide documentation of everything I observed with Employee A.


    Employee relations met with Employee A and Employee A did not speak with me for weeks. It was obvious I had told on him & raised concerns since we are direct coworkers.


    Employee A was completely clean and not coming back seeming drunk after lunch. This lasted for 5-6 weeks. Then Employee A started coming in drunk again. This went on for the rest of the year. Getting worse and worse.


    Beginning of 2016: Employee A was finally confronted by my managers and HR. Asked to go on leave. Not 100% sure of these discussion because I wasn't allowed to know any of the information which I understand.


    Employee A was gone for 8 weeks and then I was told he would be returning. Talked with managers about what this looks like; responsibilities etc.. I was told he was "certified" to come back to work.

    Employee A returned with great behavior at first. Very productive for a couple of weeks. Then the half days being drunk started again. The last 3 weeks, Employee A has been drunk on and off. Work is starting to pile up on me again. I texted manager every time I noticed weird behvior because the manager asked me to.

    I met with manager to discuss and was told I am too focused on giving manager these details. Was told she does not notice any of the behvior I texted. Told me I need to stop and just do my work (which is starting to be 2 people's work / over the regular 40 hrs). 

     

    Thoughts? How should I proceed?

  • Fri, May 13 2016 8:59 PM In reply to

    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    jhar223:
    mid 2014 - Employee A started getting worse. I kept taking on more work and covering.

    And now you are doing it again. Very foolish. All you are doing is enabling A's irresponsibility and enabling your employer to sweep it under the rug.

    jhar223:
    How should I proceed?

     Proceed by polishing up your resume and looking for another job.

    It should be obvious to you that your employers are circling the wagons because they are afraid of being sued by this drunk.

    jhar223:
    Told me I need to stop and just do my work (which is starting to be 2 people's work / over the regular 40 hrs). 

    Exactly my point.

    You're the one who will get the axe if you keep pushing this.

    Unfortunate and unfair, yes, but it's time for you to get out and leave them with the drunk.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Sat, May 14 2016 5:33 AM In reply to

    • cbg
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    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    You should stop and just do your work. You've brought your concerns to management - it's now time for you to get your nose out of the other co-worker's business. For the record, it is not against the law to be an alcoholic and they have rights, which you are treading on.

  • Sat, May 14 2016 10:28 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    Suggestion..butt out , 101% no involvement ....management has a problem...let them solve it ....messengers of bad news still get executed ....stop being a messenger .

    Stop covering, stop picking up pieces of her work, develop art of making yourself scarce if management is looking for somebody to,pick up her undone work. ...Develop a serious set of blinders and earmuffs and zip your  lips . 



  • Sat, May 14 2016 10:33 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
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    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    And develop the art of being totally out of loop if contracts get bungled or customers are heated up . Assume that all stuff flows down hill...and your best place is to be not on that hill at all. 



  • Sun, Jun 26 2016 11:42 AM In reply to

    • jhar223
      Consumer
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    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    Anyone else have any opinions?

  • Sun, Jun 26 2016 1:25 PM In reply to

    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    jhar223:

    Anyone else have any opinions?

    Any that you will like?  No.  

    The bottom line is whether your co-worker is an alcoholic or not the employer can assign as much work to you as they want as long as they pay you your agreed upon salary.  If you don't like the workload find another job.  Even if the alcoholism is addressed it isn't a guarantee your work load will change.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • Sun, Jun 26 2016 3:23 PM In reply to

    • jhar223
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Sat, May 14 2016
    • TN
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    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    If I quit my job, does this qualify for Unemployment based on Hostile Work Environment?

  • Sun, Jun 26 2016 3:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    jhar223:

    If I quit my job, does this qualify for Unemployment based on Hostile Work Environment?

    Doesn't sound like it.  "Hostile work environment" has to do with sexual harassment - it's not a general term for unpleasantness at work.

  • Sun, Jun 26 2016 6:52 PM In reply to

    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    jhar223:

    If I quit my job, does this qualify for Unemployment based on Hostile Work Environment?

    NO.  If you were the one being harassed based on a protected characteristic it MIGHT be but it would be a large battle to prove that you had no option but to quit.

     

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • Sun, Jun 26 2016 7:24 PM In reply to

    • cbg
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    • Joined on Thu, Dec 21 2000
    • MA
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    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    If I quit my job, does this qualify for Unemployment based on Hostile Work Environment?

    Not even close. The term, "hostile work environment" has a very specific meaning and nothing you have posted is in the same state, let alone the same ballpark, as an HWE.

  • Mon, Jun 27 2016 10:19 AM In reply to

    Re: Working with a possible alcoholic

    jhar223:

    Anyone else have any opinions?

    Your situation does not sound like anything that suing or evoking laws can help with.  You just need to exercise your best office-politics skills.

    This situation could even turn out well for you, to the extent that your bosses realize you are going above and beyond and might be willing to give you a raise plus even a promotion (for your help with letting them skate on having to do anything about this coworker).  It sounds like you have already passed up at least one excellent opportunity to hint at a raise (when your boss expressed gratitude previously).

    But it's important not to complain.  Nobody likes the stress of having to deal with whining employees.  So don't get hung up on fairness.  Accept that life isn't fair, and stop thinking about how much your coworker is getting away with.  It may also help to realize that you wouldn't want to trade places with this guy no matter how much your employer coddles him - he sounds like he has major problems.

    If you believe you can't handle the workload without something important falling through the cracks, it is important to communicate that to your boss before it actually happens.  Do it matter-of-factly, not in a complaining way.  It will reduce your odds of getting a big raise, but dropping a ball will definitely be worse.

    BTW, if you are a woman you should probably read Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In" before you start hinting at raises.  Women have to be very careful to avoid being seen as too pushy.  As a group, we ARE meek, so that's what everyone expects of us and people of both sexes tend to be offended when a woman violates that norm.

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