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Three factors you must look into before you take action against a drunk employee

by , 12 September 2013
So your employee pitches up at work drunk. You send him home and decide to hold a disciplinary hearing. But it isn't as simple as that! Make sure you stay on the right side of labour law. Consider these three factors before you take action...

While no one can dispute that an employee who shows up drunk can negatively affect your business, you still need to follow the law when you deal with him.

So make sure you take these three points into account…

Taking action against a drunk employee? Consider these three points first

Consideration#1: You must consider your work practices. For example, what behaviour you generally accept in your workplace.

Remember, you can't take action if you haven't clearly explained through your policies what's acceptable and what isn't. Your employees will simply plead ignorance.

Consideration#2: The nature of your business. The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service explains that an airline pilot for instance is subject to stricter rules and more serious penalties if he flies a plane while he's drunk, than a secretary who performs office tasks.

Consideration#3: You must look into whether or not the drunk employee can hurt himself or others.

For example, a truck driver who is drunk and transports goods is a danger to himself, his passengers and other drivers on the road.

Keep in mind that if your employee is an alcoholic or drug dependent, it's thought of as a sickness. And that means you should treat disciplinary procedures as incapacity.

But, where an employee who isn't an alcoholic comes to work drunk, under the influence of alcohol or gets drunk at work, he's committed misconduct. You need to deal with it with as a misconduct issue.

So make sure you investigate if your employee has a dependency problem before you take action against him.

In addition, make sure you consider the above mentioned points before act against a drunk or high employee. This'll help you stay on the right side of labour law.

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