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Businesses readily acknowledge that employees who use illegal drugs pose a significant risk to the company and its employees. Alcohol use on the job creates an even greater risk yet companies often do not deal with the use or abuse of alcohol in the same manner as the use of illegal drugs. The danger in the use of alcohol is not limited to those diagnosed as alcoholics. A threat is present when an employee consumes two or three beers at lunch and then returns to work. These individuals do the most to create a hazardous situation. The abuse of alcohol is not a minor business problem. Almost 6 million working Americans bring their alcohol problems to the workplace. Needless to say, it can be quite costly to businesses. It affects both white collar and blue collar employees of both sexes. Most businesses have developed approaches for dealing with this dilemma. Given the scope of this problem, it is important to clearly understand just how businesses deal with alcohol use on the job. What are the most effective approaches? Is it possible that the nature of the workplace itself may actually escalate this problem? Can the attitudes of supervisors contribute to this problem? Thus, this paper will examine the environment of the workplace to determine its affect on alcohol use on the job. It will then review and evaluate existing approaches used by businesses to deal with alcohol use and abuse in the workplace. This will be followed by some recommendations for the development of a workable program to combat alcohol abuse in the workplace.


Originally published:

Jacobs, Pearl, and Linda Schain. "Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace: Developing a Workable Plan of Action." Research in Business and Economics Journal 2 (2010): 1-9.



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