Overall, alcohol still has aplace in the work world – and many people think it's just fine.(Photo: Shutterstock)

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Many employers don't mind if their workers booze it up togetherat holiday parties and other “bonding events” – and some still encouragedeals with clients sealed with a martini at lunch, according to thereport, “Drinking in the workplace,” by Niznik BehavioralHealth.

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Niznik surveyed 1,010 people and found that the most common waysthat companies allow alcohol include hosting holiday parties wherealcohol is served, 45 percent; hosting team bonding events wherealcohol is served, 24.2 percent; allowing alcohol to be consumedduring meetings/lunches with clients/customers, 13.4 percent;sponsoring happy hours, 12 percent; and allowing employees to drinkon certain days/hours, 12 percent.

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“Holiday parties represented the most common form of sanctioneddrinking – though companies are increasingly reconsidering thepresence of alcohol at these events in light of concerns aboutsexual misconduct,” the authors write.

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Related: Alcohol at work can turn off prospectiveemployees

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The top five industries allowing or sponsoring alcoholconsumption are technology; construction; marketing andadvertising; arts, entertainment and recreation; and informationservices and data processing.

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“Employees of tech companies were most likely to report thattheir employers permitted or sponsored alcohol consumptionoverall,” the authors write. “This finding resonates with recentheadlines emerging from Silicon Valley: Companies like Twitter andGlassdoor offer free beer at all hours, while other tech giantshave moved to curb partying by changing previously laxpolicies.”

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While 78 percent of respondents say drinking with generalco-workers was acceptable, just 60 percent view supervisors assuitable drinking partners. But for those who do, 24 percent saydrinking with a superior could lead to better jobopportunities.

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“No matter your drinking partner's job title, however,moderation is in order: With any kind of co-worker, our respondentsfelt two drinks was the appropriate amount of alcohol to consume,”the authors write. “In a similar vein, beer and wine were seen asthe most acceptable drinks to have alongside colleagues, whereasmost respondents felt that various kinds of hard liquor were not agood idea in such scenarios.”

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While many companies may sanction alcohol, a third ofrespondents prefer not to drink, according to the survey.Twenty-two percent make excuses to get out of their obligation toattend and 14 percent simply avoid going – but for those who attendevents, 12 percent pretend to drink.

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The authors note that it's a good best practice to keepnon-alcoholic beverages on hand and is  a particularlysmart choice if any employees are recovering alcoholics.“Well-intentioned colleagues are less likely to repeatedly offeryou drinks if you have one already, and they probably won't inquireif your cup contains alcohol,” the authors note.

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Overall, alcohol still has a place in the work world – and manypeople think it's just fine, according to the survey.

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“Truly bonding with one's colleagues means respectfullyconsidering their needs and accommodating a range of preferences,”the authors write. “If your company provides alcohol at its events,it's important to convey that drinking isn't compulsory. Moreover,moderation must be clearly encouraged, so that everyone can enjoysafety and comfort.”

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.