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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
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I have worked and been in management at my company for over

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I have worked and been in management at my company for over 20 years. Over the years we have had multiple occasions where employees have been found to be drinking on the job and no punishment was accessed.
Yesterday two employees left to go to lunch together and they were drinking and when asked by the owner they both admitted to it.
I was asked by the owner to write a company handbook to cover this and other things that come up in day to day business. I did this over 4 years ago and sent it to him and all management for their approval but the owner never approved it and seems to be against a company handbook. With all this being said, and letting you know our company has never punished anyone for drinking, the owner's daughter and son and the owner gave punishment out this morning and it was 6 days off work no pay and they would be told after 6 days it they even have a job when they return.
I am guessing this could be a gray area, but surely the owner knows and well as most of the company there has no been any punishment handed out for this. Because if this fact, I do not understand how my company can levy a punishment of any kind for this offence without coming forward with a company letter dated and signed that states, on this given date forward anyone who is found to be drinking on the job..........the punishment is this.......... To me even though the employees are in the wrong they are upset and thinking about seeking legal consul because they were seemingly singled out and are the first to be given a punishment for this. What is the answer to this problem?
thanks Mark


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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