No one is immune to alcohol or substance abuse problems, and that includes those who may manage or supervise other workers. Workplace dynamics and power structures make navigating this situation a real challenge.
As a worker you may notice that a supervisor has had attendance problems, difficulty performing work, appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or even exhibits unsafe behaviors. You might find yourself “covering” for someone whose work is affected by their alcohol or substance use. How to handle this situation is unique in every case.
Below are a few basic guidelines. Click on each heading to find out more, or download a one-sheet PDF of this information.
If an unsafe workplace exists, you must speak to someone in charge or take action immediately. This is especially true in our industry where rigging, scenery, stage automation, and electrical systems can create special hazards.
If your supervisor’s drinking or drug use is impacting your ability to do your job, or you find they often do not remember things, be sure to get as much of your interaction with your supervisor in writing as possible. Take notes at meetings, email requests for time off and be sure to save the replies, get written permission to purchase equipment or supplies, request documentation of any unusual tasks you are asked to complete, etc.
If you find yourself in a compromised position of covering for someone you report to:
Create documentation of what you have observed and include dates, times, witnesses, and signs of misuse (bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, delayed reaction time, unsteady gait, erratic behavior, odor of alcohol or drugs, etc.)
Figure out who to speak to and how to approach the problem
If you decide to approach the person directly click here for more information.