Another scenario for managers and supervisors - What to do when an employee finished their shift and becomes inebriated in the parking lot. What are you going to do?


Hello. I'm Jeff Shiver, Managing Principal of People and Processes. We've got another Situational Leadership Tip for you, or scenario for you to think about.

You're the Operations Supervisor and you're covering the graveyard shift, from basically 11 p.m. to 7 in the morning. You work with a third-party security company and you've got one guard at the front desk, and you've got one that roves in a vehicle, checking the outside perimeter and the parking lot. At about 11:30, the rover noticed that as the employees from the previous shift left work one of them stayed behind.

The rover came back around about an hour later, and noticed that the light was still on in the car, the door was open, and there was still an individual inside. They really didn't stop. About 1:30 they came back around again and checked. Then they called you as the Operations Supervisor.

It happens that John, who finished his shift at 11:30, has been drinking, and is now passed out in the front seat of the car. Well, you go out there and you wake him. When you wake him up, he murmurs something about going through a messy divorce, that type thing. Now you have to decide what are the next steps that you're going to do? Remember, he's on the company property. He wasn't drinking on shift, but he's still on company property.

Let's say you decided to look up John's last address. Then you opted to have the rover take John to that last known address, which happened to be three years old, from the time it was last updated.

Realize that while you think you did the right things, maybe that wasn't necessarily the right thing. Let's talk about what could have happened.

Remember, John said, "He was going through a messy divorce." The last known address that we had for John was now where his ex-wife and his children live, and John doesn't live there anymore. Now let's assume that John goes, and he just opens the front door, maybe the locks have been changed and he beats down the door, and basically goes in or something, or breaks a window, and his wife shoots him. "Extreme case," you say.

Well, let's use another scenario. What happens if the rover drops off, and of course the rover doesn't wait for him to get inside, and leaves, and John passes out on the lawn again, and he's still in a drunken stupor and he goes out into the road, and he lays down in the middle of the road, and a car runs over him? What are you going to do? At this point, it's too late.

The challenge for you is this, at the end of the day, while it may not necessarily be what you feel is the right answer, from a legal standpoint, the only thing you pretty much can do, and again this varies by country and by company, but reality is probably all you can do is call the police and let them have him.

That may seem hard and cruel but in the end what would happen if something happened to John. You could bet that the wife would come back to the plant, and there'd only be one story to tell, and it would probably be something along these lines after she consulted her attorney. "Hey, John and I weren't going through a divorce. We had reconciled all this stuff, and you guys were negligent in the way you approached it."

These are things that you need to think about before these types of incidents happen.