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Does Someone Have To Go: When Alcohol and Medical Problems Impact Work


The Fox TV show Does Someone Have to Go broke new ground this week with their visit to True Home Value in Saint Louis.

Larry Smith bought the mom and pop biz eight years ago and at first the business showed tremendous growth. The company sells large home improvement projects such as decks and new windows and they do it with a team of canvassers on the ground and telemarketers in the office.

Sales have been slipping and rather than blame it on the poor economy, Larry blames it on his dysfunctional staff. For the future of the business, he opened the doors to the camera crew and turned over the reins to his employees.


Do You Know What You're Worth?

The first thing that sets this company apart from the previous two is that there are no family members on staff. When deciding who stays and who goes, it’s hard not to treat mothers, brothers and husbands of the boss in a different way. In previous cases, the family dynamics generally worked against the employee but asking them to leave wasn’t easy.

The employees of True Home Value have a bigger, stickier HR problem to deal with – poor performance due to medical and addiction issues.

The Evaluation

When asked to evaluate their fellow employees, five people were singled out by almost everyone.

Matt H:  Neighborhood Marketing Director
Salary: $54,000

The employees say he blames everyone else rather than taking responsibility for his department’s declining numbers. He’s also studying for the bar exam which is keeping him from concentrating on a job that he’s going to quit as soon as he passes the bar.

Matt G: Customer Service Manager
Salary:  $52,000

One of the youngest members of the team, Matt is known as the slacker. He’s always doodling and wandering the office because he’s bored. He says he’s being penalized for working faster than everyone else. Not much of a penalty – he makes more than the Call Center Manager ($50,000) and double what most of the other workers are making.

Stephanie: Telemarketer
Salary: $22,366

Stephanie has been with the company for eleven years and her fellow employees say that when she’s in the office she’s one of the best workers. Trouble is, she misses a lot of time. They think she’s taking advantage of her senior position (though her salary isn’t very senior!). The truth is, she has medical problems that have landed her in the hospital numerous times.

Mark H: Director of Marketing
Salary: $115,000

Mark calls it constructive criticism but the employees say he’s demeaning and threatening. They also agree that since he’s head of marketing, it’s his fault that his team is performing so poorly.

Sharon: Office Manager
Salary: $52,000

In their candid interviews, almost every employee said that Sharon is an alcoholic. They say she comes to work drunk and drinks while she’s on the job. They recognize that this stems from depression after the death of her mother but its severely impacting her ability to do her job. And, it’s embarrassing when people from outside need to meet with her.

When faced with the truth, Sharon swears on camera that she never drinks at work but clearly she’s in denial. Or not. When it comes time to vote, it’s another first for the show; Sharon votes to put herself up to be fired.

The Bottom Line

After the final tally, overpaid Matt G survives as does Miss Absentee Stephanie.

Co-dependent Matt H and Mark both end up on the bottom along with Sharon.

Will Someone Have to Go? Find out next Thursday when the second part of the episode airs on Fox.

What Do You Think?

What do you do with an employee when a drinking, medical or other personal problem negatively impacts not only their work but the entire company? Please leave your thoughts on this serious issue in the comment section below.

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Drinking at Work: 3 Reasons to Instill a ‘Mad Men’ Office Environment 

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CR: Jeff Neira/FOX

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