Possible Signs of Employee Alcoholism

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Millions of Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol addiction. This not only causes severe familial, societal, and personal problems, but it also creates challenges for employers. Absenteeism, poor productivity, substandard workplace conduct, and safety concerns are some of the problems employers must deal with when an employee has alcoholism. If you suspect an employee is an alcoholic, it’s time to get in touch with a drug and alcohol testing agency.

Attendance and Leave

Employees who are struggling with alcoholism are more likely than others to take an excessive amount of sick leave or personal days. In particular, they’re more likely to be absent from work on Mondays and Fridays. Alcoholics may have frequent tardiness and unauthorized absences. They may also call in at the last minute, requesting leave due to emergencies like car problems, family emergencies, or legal problems. Of course, not every employee who takes sick days has alcohol use disorder. Consider whether there really is a valid reason for the employee’s attendance issues. Perhaps he or she is caring for a family member with cancer, for example, or has a child with autism.

Productivity and Performance

Evaluate employees’ attendance in light of their productivity and performance for a more thorough assessment of potential problems. Employees with alcoholism are more likely to miss deadlines, and to have an arsenal of excuses about why they didn’t complete assignments. Assignments that are completed may be poorly done.

Behavior and Relationships

Alcoholism can strain interpersonal relationships. Employees who abuse alcohol may become short-tempered or even belligerent when interacting with their co-workers. This behavior may be particularly evident during the mornings and after days off. Some telltale signs of alcohol abuse can include:

  • Smell of alcohol on the breath during work hours
  • Obsessive use of breath mints or gum
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Unsteady gait
  • Hand tremors


Oschmann Employee Screening Services is a national provider of drug and alcohol testing, and employee background check services with offices in Tucson, AZ and Phoenix, AZ. Call us at (800) 224-8532 to find out about our full-service drug testing approach for regulated and non-regulated employees.


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