India promotes drug-free workplaces

May 22 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

India is set to become the anti-party people in the workplace state, and that's not cool. Yep, it seems that the government is asking big business to help establish a policy of a drug and alcohol free workplace - partly by providing exposure to the practice of yoga and meditation.

Doesn't really sound like a fun place to work, especially if you're accustomed to knocking back a cold one at lunchtime.

First, let's establish that I'm all for a drug-free workplace and putting in place a fair policy that helps prevent problems rather than solve ones. I would hope that it also includes rehabilitative measures for those who have trouble with the policy, rather than punitive ones.

That said, an alcohol-free policy might seem great (hello, USA) or dire (hello, France) depending on your worldview.

One must be intellectually honest and recognizing the difference between someone who has a drinking problem and someone who enjoys an alcoholic beverage with their meal. Even in countries where it's not an issue to enjoy a beer or wine at lunch, there is no tolerance for drunken behavior or reduced capacities in the workplace.

My worry with establishing an alcohol-free workplace initiative is that it won't make a distinction between the two. Rather, a poor policy will be implemented that uses a sweeping, draconian approach to handling a perceived, but likely inexistent problem.

I'll be following this topic with interest as the proposal makes its way through the workplace and into the halls of government, but if I'm a betting man (there's another policy to consider), I'm not betting on the government to get this one right.