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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I have several companies in my portfolio I have to attend several holiday parties...not something I look forward to but a necessary function of my job. I tend to hit several if I can for a brief appearance.

Last Saturday I did this and hit one later after several others...and there was the company drunk. He was a mean drunk...who happens to be a member of management. As the economy is difficult things have been cut back so he was even more difficult then he might have been. I assisted in getting him to a cab rather then allowing him to drive...in the course of this he said several things that just shouldn't have been said.

My question to the members of the forum is does a statement someone makes drunk have some truth in it or should it be forgotten? My instinct is to believe that deep down he believes what he said and the alcohol merely lowered his editing function. He either doesn't remember what he said or will claim he doesn't. A gentleman of an earlier era probably would have challenged him to a duel. I held my tongue hoping to extract myself as early as possible from the situation.

In the end I have control over his position. I am a board member and I control the funding of the company. I will have to make a decision soon. I will have to take some action - he showed poor decision skills in getting drunk in front of the company. I'm trying to decide whether his personal statements need to be addressed. I'd appreciate advice.
 

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You know the situation best. And the ramifications. Don't rely on just this one incident. Trust your instincts but, as with all decisions, temper them with wisdom.
 

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For everyone, there is a disconnect between controlled outward appearance and what is going on behind the mask. For some, the gap is great, for others, not so great. In all cases, we function day to day with our masks on. I have learned to listen carefully to people when they are drunk or angry. The mask slips. This is not to say you act on what you hear, just take note.
 

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Being in a position of authority, it sounds as though his actions have given you cause to do some further investigation into his behavior while sober. In fact, I would actually think you might have some fiduciary/managerial responsibility to do so.

My guess would be that if this is the type of attitude shown while intoxicated than he is likely to be exhibiting some form of this on a daily basis. I'd check it out and be ready to replace him if necessary.
 

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This sounds very similar to the case of Mel Gibson in Malibu a few years ago. I personally believe that drink can release hidden feelings and prejudices. However, one should not be penalized for their private thoughts. Perhaps it would be best to talk to this person and inform him of the jeopardy he's put himself in. It might also be wise to strongly suggest that the individual get some very heavy counseling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I had forgotten about the Mel Gibson situation. Not sure I ever got comfortable with that...

I don't see this person on a daily basis - so his interactions with me can be very controlled and I probably only see him at his best. I do feel I have a liability issue to pursue some of his statements...

I appreciate the advice. I regret this part of my job - seeing the negative side of people.
 

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Drink lowers inhibitions, but it doesn't make someone do something that they don't want to do.

Whatever he said, he probably meant, unless it was a context where he was putting on an act and portraying a character. It doesn't sound like this was the case.

What sort of things did he say? Was it confidential company information? Threats? Information about employees that he knows because of his position but is not authorized to discuss? Or just various invectives?

Getting drunk at a company party is poor judgement and something that will probably have been noticed by enough other people, including those who write his performance review. But if you feel that what he said violates a company policy, I would discuss it with someone in HR before going to his manager.
 

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Anyone who is drunk so often to be known as the company drunk should be fired. You can't risk this kind of person. And he's a mean drunk? As if you needed any more reason to can him. Are you waiting till he wrecks a car, sexually harrasses someone, starts a fistfight, etc.? He sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.
 

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Is this the first time you saw this person drunk? Do you have reports of this kind of misbehavor from others in the company? We had a policy to dry out the drunk twice and if it happened the third time the employee was dismissed. Another solution is to forbid alcoholic drinks at these parties. Your company could face liability for allowing some to become so drunk.
 

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Maybe 20-30 years ago, a major accounting firm would have parties with an open bar for their younger, more junior people. There would never be a partner at theses parties, but sometimes someone from middle management would wonder around slapping people on the back and encourage them to let lose.
Anyway, the parties were something of a test. They would have a senior secretary, who did nothing but monitor how much each person drank and how well (professional) they behaved. While it was a kind of nasty thing to do, it did make some sense. They didn't want to risk someone getting drunk in front of a client.
Today drunken behavior is an even greater concern. You not only have to worry about what he might say or do with a client, but also an employee. A drunken remark could have your company in front of the EEOC, writing a large check. Dram Shop laws might even hold your company liable for a DUI accident he engaged in while in your employ.
Given that he's not even a fun drunk, unless your company needs him, I'd say lose him.
BTW, the rule at these affairs is 2 drinks and don't finish the second one.:icon_smile:
 

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Last Saturday I did this and hit one later after several others...and there was the company drunk. He was a mean drunk...who happens to be a member of management....in the course of this he said several things that just shouldn't have been said.

My question to the members of the forum is does a statement someone makes drunk have some truth in it or should it be forgotten?

- he showed poor decision skills in getting drunk in front of the company. I'm trying to decide whether his personal statements need to be addressed. I'd appreciate advice.
He is responsible for what he's done and what he said. Drinking isn't an excuse. Your only course of action is to hold him responsible for his actions. That maybe an alcohol treatment program, termination, and/or legal action. He's in management, represents your interests, and if left uncorrected, his behavior reflects negatively on you, the company, your employees, and clients. Take action now it's your only course.
 
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