Question If a First-line supervisor is aware that one of his subordinates has a drinking problem, but it is having no adverse effect on the subordinate’s performance or attendance, should the supervisor take any action against him? Are there moral implications involved in this situation? State your views in this context.
This is certainly a complex and challenging position to be in for the supervisor. The answer and actions you take depend on many factors, so I'll try to address as many as possible. I'm a businessman in the USA where we do not generally force our morals on employees during their free time.
My first response to your question is no. The supervisor's responsibility is to make sure employees are performing at their best, while at work. Controlling an employee's personal time should not be part of a supervisor's duties.
However, I would change my mind if the answer is yes to any of the following questions:
1) Does the behavior directly jeopardize anyone's safety?
2) Is the behavior illegal?
3) Does the behavior increase risk or liability for the company?
4) Does the behavior occur while at work and is the behavior expressly forbidden by company policy?
The action you take should be up to the supervisor and company policies. I would try to correct the behavior with a verbal warning and explanation of the company's position. I would think in most cases, the liability and risk for the company is far less than the cost of replacing the employee. The supervisor will have to carefully consider all the factors and make a decision for himself. That is the role and duty of any supervisor.
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