Q. There have been a few reports from co-workers about a new employee smelling of alcohol, although he shows no sign of intoxication. Can we ask him if he has been drinking on duty?
A. Although alcoholism is a protected condition under the law, drinking on the job is not. It is legal to ask an employee if he or she has been drinking on the job.
Consider confronting the employee first and advising him that people have smelled alcohol on his breath. Ask if he has anything to disclose. If you have a policy that permits alcohol testing, consider testing him. You may also advise him to consult yourif you have one.