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Hi, Mark, and Welcome to JustAnswer, My name isXXXXX am a licensed, practicing Attorney, and would be glad to help
The attorneys on JustAnswer are glad to answer questions and give information, but JustAnswer is not a law firm, so we cannot take on client representation and no attorney-client relationship is formed. There is no right or wrong answer to your question. A clear cut answer would have been available had the handbook you were asked to prepare been given to employees, informing them what the company's policy and position was regarding drinking, but this was not done. In situations such as he one you described, the company owner is allowed to make policy as he goes along without any liability to employees. It does not sound fair because it isn't fair, but it is legal. If an employer and employee do not have a signed written employment agreement setting forth the rights and responsibilities of the parties, including the company's policy on drinking, and the conditions under which the employer may punish or terminate the employee, then the employer may punish, or even terminate an employee at any time, with or without cause without any liability to the employee. The only way that the employer can be held liable in your situation is if the punishment were imposed in a discriminatory manner, i.e., race, creed, color, national origin, gender, ore disability. If none of these are present, the employer's action cannot be challenged from a legal standpoint. I wish I could have given you a more definitive Answer, but there is none which could be applied to the situation you described.
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