Have you ever been tempted to have a drink while on the clock  – particularly during a long, stressful shift? Although it’s not a crime in itself to be drunk, doing so in a professional workplace environment may be rendered as a ‘gross misconduct’ and could lead to immediate dismissal without the option to collect unemployment. Most private companies are not mandated by law to have drug-free workplace policies, however, there are exceptions to this. Workers in safety and security-sensitive industries, as well as federal employees are required to maintain sobriety in the workplace under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.

DrugAbuse.com conducted a survey of 3,700employers across the country, asking them to rank their tolerance of intoxication in the workplace from 1 to 10 (1 being the most tolerant and 10 being the least). The survey revealed that overall, employers in the state of Maryland are the least tolerant of drunk or high employees, with a ranking of 6/10 (compared to a national average of 5/10).

Employers in Connecticut, Maine, and Nebraska were found to be the most tolerant of employee intoxication with an average tolerance ranking of 3/10. 

The survey also delved into different industries to find out which are most and least tolerant when it comes to being intoxicated on the job. Employers in the banking and real estate industry were found to be equally tolerant (2/10).

Comparatively, those in public service, charity, and healthcare industries were least tolerant, ranking an average of 4/10, certainly due to the nature of these fields requiring regular interactions with customers, volunteers and patients respectively.

Infographic illustrating these rankings by industry across the US

Over the holiday season, sometimes employers are slightly more lenient when it comes to managing businesses. In fact, 1 in 5 employers says they’d be more tolerant of an employee being intoxicated at work if it was during the holidays.

Interestingly, it appears there might be a get-out clause to all this: when it comes to the rising popularity of the hybrid workplace model, it seems many employers find it difficult to determine their employees’ state of mind behind a screen. Nearly 1 in 3 (30%)employers said virtual working has made it nearly impossible to ascertain whether an employee is drunk or high on the job.

And while this may be a concern for employers, 5% of employees believed it’s acceptable to be drunk or high while on the job, during work hours!

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