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Employees under the influence - must you dismiss them?

by , 23 August 2013
When you hire someone, you can only hope they will be a good fit with the company. You take them on because they give you the impression that they can perform their job well. They must render diligent services to you as an employer. But what if your employee is under the influence of drugs and alcohol? Is this a 'one strike and you're out' situation? Read on to find out...

If your employee pitches up to work drunk or high, what should you do?
It's an awkward and potentially dangerous situation. Not only does it mean the worker can't do his job, but it means he might have a problem with drugs or alcohol.
You might want to give him a second chance, or maybe you're not sure whether one incident is a bad enough offence to dismiss him.
You don't have to automatically dismiss an employee who's under the influence of drugs and alcohol
Labour Law for Managers says you must consider the following work practices to decide how to proceed with this situation...
Ask yourself the following questions...
1. What are your work practices, and what kind of behaviour do you generally accept in the workplace? If you have accepted this kind of behaviour before, you've set a precedent. On the other hand, if your environment is very corporate, the employee knew full well that you would frown upon their behaviour.
2. What is the nature of your business? A secretary coming to work under the influence wouldn'treflect as badly on you as, say, if you ran a nursery school and one of your teachers was high on duty.
3. Is your employee putting others at risk? If he's a driver who crashed his truck, he endangered others on the road. This makes the offence more serious.
With these factors in mind, you can decide to simply discipline the employee, or if the severity of the offence justifies dismissal.

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