The Worker’s Behavior: Ethics and Privacy

Problem

  • A worker comes to work with a hangover on Mondays consistently.
  • She is reclusive and distant during the first part of her working day.
  • The worker’s behavior interferes with her duties and potentially lowers her productivity.

Solutions

Communication

  • Having a hungover at work directly affects customers and workers comfort and the overall outcome of a working day.
  • It is essential to talk to the employee prior to making any judgments.
  • A supervisor approaching the hungover employee should be polite.
  • A casual conversation that infers whether the employee is not feeling well may lead to an honest answer (Albrecht, Bakker, Gruman, Macey, & Saks, 2015).
  • If the worker puts others in danger by being at work while hungover, it is advisable to send her home.
  • During the conversation, the supervisor should mention that the employee’s behavior affects her work.
  • It is vital to keep the focus on actual and observable issues and outcomes, without making assumptions about the employee’s private life (Bratton, & Gold, 2017).

Written Record

  • Every time the employee appears to have a hangover should be recorded for future reference.
  • The written record of all incidents can be presented for use when one decides to take disciplinary action.

Alcohol Policy

  • If the company has an alcohol policy, the employee should be approached as well.
  • One’s condition affected by alcohol use falls under most corporate alcohol policies.
  • Thus, it is a part of the supervisor’s duties to address these problems.
  • Here, the conversation with the employee should also remain polite.
  • During the first interaction, the manager can issue a warning and remind the employee about the policy (Dessler, Chhinzer, & Cole, 2015).
  • The following instance should be addressed with a suspension or termination.
  • In this case, workers should be made aware of the existing policy.
  • To ensure that the decision is correct, one should use the written record of all previous incidents.

Employee Assistance

  • The problem of the employee may be addressed with a less harsh approach.
  • The supervisor can suggest enrolling the worker in the employee assistance program.
  • If the business has such a project, the employee may benefit from external help.
  • This advice cannot be presented to the worker as a punitive measure.
  • Furthermore, it cannot be made if the employee does not disclose the fact that she has a hangover.
  • If she admits to having an issue, a supervisor can help her access help.

Invasion of Privacy

  • A discussion with an employee about her behavior at work is not connected to her personal life.
  • Such conversations are not an invasion of privacy if the work process is affected.
  • By staying respectful and avoiding assumptions, the supervisor will highlight that this is a work-related issue.
  • If the company has a specific policy, then such interactions are not only advised but also necessary.

Summary

  • If the worker’s hangover affects her performance, other workers’ job, or customer comfort, it should be acknowledged.
  • A simple polite conversation does not constitute an invasion of privacy.
  • The supervisor should address work-related issues: productivity changes, work hazards, negative outcomes, and lowered morale.
  • The manager should not make assumptions but ask direct questions to avoid mentioning the employee’s personal life.
  • If the firm has an alcohol policy, the supervisor to follow the established guidelines.
  • An issued warning about one’s hangover is a necessary part of a disciplinary process if the latter is mentioned in the company’s rules.

References

Albrecht, S. L., Bakker, A. B., Gruman, J. A., Macey, W. H., & Saks, A. M. (2015). Employee engagement, human resource management practices and competitive advantage: An integrated approach. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 2(1), 7-35.

Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2017). Human resource management: Theory and practice (6th ed.). London, UK: Palgrave.

Dessler, G., Chhinzer, N., & Cole, N. (2015). Management of human resources: The essentials. (4th ed.). Toronto, Canada: Pearson.