Drunk Manager Is Harassing Me

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about drinking harassing boss: What’s my recourse against this drunken GE ‘s false allegations?


My general manager who is drunk every day after lunch has made accusations about my behavior, without proof. She insisted on a meeting with me outside of the office, sitting at her favorite bar, after I consistently refused. She drank at the bar (I had water) I refused to sign the warning and left. She said I gave my two weeks notice which I did not. She is harrssing at work, especially when she is drunk, which is every day. She doesn’t want to fire me, yet work is unbearable. I couldn’t go to work the last two days due to emotional and mental exhaustion. What’s my recourse against this drunken GE ‘s false allegations?


Sober But Harassed

Dear Sober But Harassed:

Your options will vary according to the circumstances of your work and the totality of the situation. There appears to be no legal issues involved. You may want to discuss this with an attorney on a free consultation basis, to see if there is is likely to be civil remedies, were you to try a lawsuit claiming emotional and physical damage.

However, the liability would be on the company that employs your General Manager and the first question you’ll be asked is, “When have you reported her behavior, with a request for assistance, and what was done each time?”If you have reported it and nothing has been done it certainly shows a lack of concern on the part of the business and may be used to show that they should be held responsible for any negative effects on you. If you haven’t reported it or were thinking that they should know without you reporting it, then the argument would be that they had no idea things were so bad.

So, your best response now is to write an overview of how often she’s drunk and what you have tried to do about it and go to HR or the person above your GM and ask for protection from her tirades and false accusations. If they company or organization refuses to believe you or refuses to provide assistance you may have no options but to quit an intolerable work situation.On the other hand, keep in mind that her condition and the reasons for you getting a warning may be two separate things.

Even a drunk boss may be right about correcting work or about issuing disciplinary actions, since those are usually not done without approval from someone higher. So, those two issues will probably have to be dealt with separately.You say she has no proof of her accusations, which means it will be up to you to show the truth or to provide a reason for her to falsely accuse you. If there are other employees who have witnessed her drunkenness or know that she is being vindictive, give their names to HR and ask that they be interviewed.

Apart from wanting her to stop her bad behavior is also the fact that anyone who is addicted to alcohol or drugs needs intervention to force them to change. Sometimes the intervention comes from someone like yourself saying that enough is enough and demanding action. I hope you will do that. In the meantime, you have to go to work while this is being handled. If you have an HR section (or the HR person), talk to them first and state your case. Say that you want to work but you can’t do so with your GM’s behavior always being a threat to you.

If you must go to work with the GM present, just focus on your work as best as you can. If she starts her usual behavior, just zone out mentally until she’s done. She won’t hit you and it sounds as though she can’t fire you directly. If she tries tell her you refuse to be fired without a hearing in front of the owner (or someone else higher than her.) It’s amazing how that can sometimes get the attention of a manager. The truth is, it’s hard to fire someone who won’t leave! I wish there was a magic way to solve this problem, but there is not. If you work for a large company your odds are much better. If you work for a smaller one, it may be that they have grown accustomed to protecting her and her alcoholic condition.Best wishes to you. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.