The unfortunate appearance of drunkenness on duty does not only happen during the “silly season.” Employers often call for advice on how to deal with an employee who is drunk on duty. The first thing to be done is to get proper evidence.
Many employers attempt to insist that the employee undergoes a breathalyser test. Whilst this is possible, it is more often that the employee becomes belligerent and flatly refuses to co-operate.
In such circumstances, the alternative available to employers is to:
- Obtain a reliable witness to the behaviour;
- Minute the following symptoms of drunkenness:
- The smell of alcohol from their breath or body;
- Whether the eyes are bloodshot or not;
- Whether there has been a change in their personality – often quiet employees become loud and aggressive and the converse is also often true;
- Whether their co-ordination has been impaired, for example, stumbling or swaying;
Whether their speech has become impaired, for example, slurring, the inability to finish a sentence or the failure to make any sense.
3. In addition, it is also possible to use ones cell phone to record an employee’s behaviour whilst under the influence. This would be evidence of points b to e above.
Once this evidence has been minuted and/or recorded, the employee should be sent home immediately and informed that they must return the following day to collect a Notice to Attend a Disciplinary Enquiry.
The final step is hold the Disciplinary Enquiry and to impose an appropriate sanction.
In our next post, we will cover how to deal with alcoholism in the workplace.