Colleague possibly drinking alcohol on the sly at work

(122 Posts)
WhoBobWhatPants Sat 23-Aug-14 00:23:54

There's a bloke where I work (an office of 11 plus Directors),who’s been with us since February, who I think has been drinking alcohol while he's at work.

Throughout the day he goes to his car regularly, between 6-8 times a day, and 'fiddles about', quite a lot with a bottle, like moving it from the front to the back if he's giving a lift or stopping 20-50yds down the road to have a drink of it after leaving work for the day (which I've seen myself) confused

Today it's come out while a few of us were talking in the office, that 5 out of the 11 of us have noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath after he's been out to the car.

There are 2 bosses 'we' could go to, but one of them has been done for drink/driving themselves (which may skew his take on the matter, albeit he knows it was an idiotic choice on his part following a big night out) and I can't help wondering what may happen if they ask the bloke about it.

What if he denies it, or he hasn't been drinking alcohol, or hasn't been drinking more than the equivalent of a half at lunchtime, or says he has been but will stop straight away, how can they make sure he has?

The main thing for me is whether he's drinking and then going out in his car, but as it's not 100% certain he is drinking alcohol, short of the police catching him in the act, how can anyone know whether he is or not?

I have thought about just going to the police myself, but rather than that, wouldn't the next step in the process be to go to my bosses because of not being totally certain he is drinking?

He's actually a really nice person and does a good job which makes it harder to 'grass him up' when there's a possibility he might just be swigging mineral water (if he was then why not bring it into the office?).

I know it's come to a time where something has to be done. It doesn't feel right to go to him directly and 'accuse' him, so if I go to my bosses is that doing enough to stop him drink driving (if he is)?

If I go to the police it's too hit and miss as to whether they'd be able to catch him at it, if they did anything at all, and how long would they take? Would he be back driving his car home on Monday pissed? (And aren't the police the easy option so nobody in the office has to take responsibility for accusing him.)

So it's back to the bosses and them asking him.

It's a vicious circle.

Gah!

WhoBobWhatPants Sat 23-Aug-14 00:24:57

Cor blimey! It wasn't meant to be that long-winded.

catsofa Sat 23-Aug-14 00:29:36

If you think someone is drinking and driving then please report it to the police. How would you feel if he killed someone and you hadn't?

Shockers Sat 23-Aug-14 00:42:35

I'm just going to sleep but I want to consider this further. You're absolutely right to be concerned.

campingfilth Sat 23-Aug-14 00:43:54

very easy. write down his reg and then call the police when he leaves. This is what I would do.

Redglitter Sat 23-Aug-14 00:59:14

Ideally call before he leaves. If you know he's leaving at 5 call at half 4 give a traffic car a chance to be outside waiting for him

WhoBobWhatPants Sat 23-Aug-14 01:08:11

The thing is with reporting it though, neither me or any of those I've spoken to are certain it is a case of him driving whilst over the limit. Are they likely to take it seriously as it isn't like I've seen him drinking several in a pub then getting in his car?

EBearhug Sat 23-Aug-14 01:14:00

You could call 101 and ask them what they think, maybe?

Redglitter Sat 23-Aug-14 01:51:19

It doesn't matter. If you suspect it report it. If cops stop him and he's not been drinking then no harm done.

WhoBobWhatPants Sat 23-Aug-14 02:27:45

Yet, what if he's clear (this time), but I/we continue to smell alcohol? The police won't respond continually until they do catch him?

Or if he is caught, my bosses would be questioning why no one came to them first, as the police would surely be obliged/duty bound to inform him why he was stopped?
Plus, given the situation that he's driving home from the office where he's been all day (maybe apart from nipping out to get his lunch 5/6hrs earlier), the report could really only come from one place? Therefore it will get back to them.

Pickledradish Sat 23-Aug-14 02:35:47

Here's suggestion.

As he's a really nice person and is good at his job, why can't you be brave and have a quiet word with him to let him know people are aware of his alcohol issues and he is risking his license and job if he carries on - as well as being a danger on the roads.

quietlysuggests Sat 23-Aug-14 02:53:26

i agree.
be kind and speak directly to him.
he needs to know the game s up.
i hope it helps him to get better

Redglitter Sat 23-Aug-14 03:05:55

Police won't give any reason to your bosses. unless hrs driving a company vehicle it's basically got nothing to do with them.

They'll come out more than once. just because he's clear once doesn't mean he's not drinking and driving and they'll be aware of that

If you phone in anonymously then no one will know where the calls come from

trufflehunterthebadger Sat 23-Aug-14 03:06:05

Or if he is caught, my bosses would be questioning why no one came to them first, as the police would surely be obliged/duty bound to inform him why he'd been stopped

We would never say "your colleague thinks you've been drinking in the loos at work, give us a blow into this". Sus DICs are phoned in all the time, we sit up behind the driver, follow them for a bit to assess the manner of driving. We have the power to stop any vehicle on the road to check documents so would just pull him over on a routine stop check. But the idea of the stop is to assess whether that person shows signs of drinking (smell of alcohol, glazed eyes etc). The suspicion that a driver has been drinking gives the constable the power to require a specimen of breath.

The person who rung it in never gets mentioned at all

WhoBobWhatPants Sat 23-Aug-14 03:30:54

If the police were to stop him, and he blows clear though, how many more times could they pull him before it enters the realms of victimisation?

Even if each time the constable treats it as a random stop/document check, and even if the "and can you blow into this" doesn't appear to be necessary, he's going to wonder before long why he keeps getting pulled, and it seems to be after leaving work in each instance?

Redglitter Sat 23-Aug-14 03:34:39

If he's stopped a couple of times based on a call then the cops are within their rights. If he keeps blowing clear maybe he doesn't have the problem people think he has

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 23-Aug-14 09:32:43

I would go to one of the directors; and say that it is none of your business,
but it has been noted in the office by some of your colleagues that this person, who you all like, smells of alcohol after going to his car on more than one occasion. You have concerns about him, and the effects on his work and if it continues, the company morale and of course, if he is working under the influence. That you have thought of all options and are stumped as to how to handle it and you don't want to be brought into any grievance or anything so you are just passing it up the line so that if the directors think it is a problem, then they can observe, and act as they think appropriate.

I would and have done this, I had a staff member who turned up smelling of alcohol on occasion and passed it up the line, and as he was marched out of the building I called the police with his number plate, where he was driving from and in which direction he was likely to go and left it to them. Difference being I was supervisor and this man was a cunt. And if he asked I'd happily say it was me that called the cops. We never saw him again thankfully.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 23-Aug-14 09:34:38

Or...you could just casually say 'cor blimey guv, has someone had a liquid lunch today?' and start making reference to it in general...and see if that knocks it on the head [that it has been noticed and noted].

SweetsForMySweet Sat 23-Aug-14 09:46:55

If you don't want to say it directly to your bosses, could you send in an anon note with your suspicions. The guy may be a functioning alcoholic and thinks so he's getting away with it so far.

ShutUpPan Sat 23-Aug-14 10:05:32

Here's suggestion.

As he's a really nice person and is good at his job, why can't you be brave and have a quiet word with him to let him know people are aware of his alcohol issues and he is risking his license and job if he carries on - as well as being a danger on the roads.

Yes, a demonstration of a warmth of concern for someone you like trumps getting them arrest, every time.
It sounds like he has a massive problem with alcohol, and is in desperate need of being assisted with it.

I'd even suggest it's your 'duty' as a caring human being to raise it with him delicately.

Setting him up to be arrested is just the pits.

magpiegin Sat 23-Aug-14 10:09:41

I don't agree that setting him up to get arrested is the pits. What if he killed someone this weekend due to drink driving? If he isn't drink driving the worst that will happen is that he is pulled over, he blows clear and is let on his way (so a bit of embarrassment/ inconvenience).

Yes, on top of this he may need help and support of friends but drink driving is illegal and who knows who he could injure or kill.

sashh Sat 23-Aug-14 10:14:46

There are 2 issues

possible drink driving

and his health.

Does he go to the car at regular times? Like at about 10.30 every morning? Then 12.00 and then 3.00pm?

It is possible he is being treated for alcohol dependence. There are a number of routes treatment can take, one of which is taking the minimum alcohol to stop withdrawal symptoms but not enough to get drunk.

Personally I think the amount you drink if you are driving should be zero, but that is not the legal stance.

Obviously he could also be arriving at work drunk and topping up and as you have never known him sober you won't know if he is drunk.

Personally I would approach this as a health and safety issue with management. Have a look at your H and S policy, some have sections about drinking at work, some have sections about supporting someone with a drink problem.

If someone in your office has responsibility for H and S they should be the one that does the reporting.

Mrsstarlord Sat 23-Aug-14 10:18:10

*Yes, a demonstration of a warmth of concern for someone you like trumps getting them arrest, every time.
It sounds like he has a massive problem with alcohol, and is in desperate need of being assisted with it.

I'd even suggest it's your 'duty' as a caring human being to raise it with him delicately.

Setting him up to be arrested is just the pits.*

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

This, absolutely, this.

fun1nthesun Sat 23-Aug-14 10:22:48

Someone accused me once because I had slurred my words. I was on heavy medication and had had 3 hours sleep the night before. I showed them the medicine and explained why. End of!

The point is, if he has nothing to hide then asking should clear it up easily. Do you have to involve management? Maybe confronting him would give him the warning that you have noticed his drinking (if that's what it is) and solve the problem.

ShutUpPan Sat 23-Aug-14 10:25:32

ta Mrs - I'm the manager of a large office - IF someone in my team 'set up' a colleague in the way described without directly raising it with him, or me, in order to be able to intervene and provide assistance to him, first, I'd be utterly furious.

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