Alcohol Use Policy

Marine Biological Laboratory
Policy No. G.1.12
Human Resources

Initiated by:    Human Resources Director
Approved by:  Director/CEO
Date:    May 1, 1994
Revision: #2 January 2011, #3 April 2015
Distribution: MBL community

1.0 Purpose
To ensure the safe and responsible use of alcoholic beverages by all within the MBL community.

2.0 Policy Statement
The Marine Biological Laboratory is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all members of the MBL community (see definition below). The MBL is particularly concerned about the use and potential abuse of alcohol because of its potential to affect productivity and efficiency; jeopardize the safety of members of the community and the general public; and harm the community standing of the MBL. While legal and appropriate consumption of alcohol is allowed under specific circumstances (as outlined below), the MBL expects all members of the community to assist in encouraging and ensuring responsible use of alcohol, by themselves and by others.

3.0 Standards of Conduct
All members of the MBL community are responsible for being familiar with and complying with the requirements of state statutes as well as local ordinances concerning the consumption, possession, and sale of alcohol, in addition to following all guidelines for the responsible conduct of research and the MBL Code of Conduct, Policy G.1.19. In addition, members of the MBL community must show consideration for the larger Woods Hole community in which the campus and its housing are located.

4.0 Policy
Alcoholic beverages may be consumed only in accordance with this policy and Massachusetts statutes at MBL-sponsored or MBL-approved events and at authorized locations on MBL premises.

Consumption of alcohol is prohibited at all times in all MBL laboratories including research and teaching spaces. Alcoholic beverages may not be consumed on MBL premises, except in moderation at MBL officially sanctioned functions or other functions as stated below. Such exceptions must be approved in advance, in writing, by the President/Director of the MBL or his/her designee and conducted in accordance with any limitations that accompany that approval.

MBL officially sanctioned functions are institution-wide events approved by the President/Director. Examples of such functions might include the annual Holiday party, employee recognition and retirement parties, formal receptions, and similar events. Alcohol will be provided and served at these approved functions only by catering staff. To consume alcohol, MBL community members must wear their MBL cards so that they are clearly visible and should be prepared to provide proof of legal age upon request. Moderate consumption and appropriate behavior is required at these functions.

Off-the-job use of alcohol, or use of alcohol when not actively engaged in an MBL activity, that adversely affects a community member’s MBL performance, jeopardizes the safety or property of other members of the MBL community, or has the potential to harm the MBL’s standing in the community is also prohibited. Employees and other members of the community are also prohibited from reporting to work or their prescribed MBL activity under the influence of alcohol.

In addition, persons whose positions with the MBL require driving as a part of their work or activity while at MBL may be removed from such positions if found to have been driving under the influence of alcohol whether on duty or off duty.

5.0 Exceptions
The President/Director or his/her designee may approve on a case by case basis the consumption of alcohol at specific social events that are not MBL-wide. Examples might include special course or conference/workshop functions, outside speaker receptions, and similar activities. Procedures for obtaining approval for these events are provided in “Procedures for Implementing the  MBL Alcohol Use Policy” [see Section 8.0 below].

MBL housing facilities are considered a standard exception on the condition that occupants and/or their guests are of the legal drinking age (21 years) and the occupant of record accepts responsibility for overseeing responsible use of alcohol, for ensuring that only moderate consumption is permitted, and for ensuring that appropriate standards of conduct are maintained.

6.0 Counseling and Assistance
Recognizing that assistance for alcohol-related problems may be needed, the MBL provides an Employee Assistance Program whereby any employee or family member may seek confidential counseling. Other members of the community may seek advice on resources available by contacting the Human Resources office.

7.0 Sanctions
Massachusetts law prohibits the consumption of and possession of alcohol by person under the age of 21, supplying alcohol to any person under the age of 21, and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The host of a party can be held liable for a guest who causes injury to others if it is proved that the host knew or should have known that the guest was intoxicated but continued to allow the guest to drink alcoholic beverages. Town of Falmouth bylaws prohibit public intoxication and the consumption of alcohol in public places.  They also place restrictions on noise from premises – specifically, noise may not be plainly audible as a distance of 150 feet from that premise.

In addition to possible legal consequences, violation of this MBL policy and the accompanying procedures shall lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion from the campus.

8.0 Procedures for Implementing the Policy
“Procedures for Implementing the MBL Alcohol Use Policy” are available by clicking here.

9.0 Policy Updates
Policy updates are available from the Office of the President/Director or the Human Resources Office.

MBL Community: For the purposes of this policy, the MBL community includes all year-round employees (scientists and support staff); Whitman Investigators and their personnel, and all other visiting researchers including seminar speakers, sabbatical faculty and other scientific and staff visitors; students, faculty and staff in MBL courses; undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students participating in directed or independent research on campus; conference and workshop attendees; residents in MBL housing; volunteers and other visitors affiliated with employees or visitors, such as spouses or other family members who are on the MBL campus.