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Drinking on the Job

If someone has ever been terminated for drinking on the job, it can cause many legal issues as well as questions such as: what is the drinking on the job laws, what is alcohol in the workplace policy, and is it illegal for an employee drinking at work. Listed below are five for the top drinking on the Job questions that have been answered by the Experts .

If someone got drunk at work, passed out, had to be taken to the hospital and upon returning to work was fired, is this a form of discrimination in the work place if the employee admits to being a alcoholic? What action could be taken against the employer

Generally, an employee can be discharged for something like drunkenness on the job, as employment, in the absence of an employment contract, is at will, and thus an employee can be terminated without cause or notice. However, alcoholism is sometimes, depending on the specific facts of the individual's illness, a covered disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the Act, a person cannot be fired for having a disability. As such, I would contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission immediately to discuss the possibility of filing a charge of disability discrimination.

In the state of Tennessee, is there any way that an employee can be fired from their job if someone witnessed the employee drinking at work.

In TN, the employer can terminate your employment for any reason or no reason at all that is not discriminatory or retaliatory unless you are a contract or union worker. If the employer has a progressive discipline policy and it violates its own policies in terminating you, you could have a cause of action for wrongful termination.

If someone has a drinking problem and came to work smelling like alcohol the next day after drinking the night before, and has completed an alcohol counseling session, can the employer ask for them to provide a certificate of completion of the session even though it was prior to the offense?

Once it became known to the company that you had this issue, it is no longer your personal business as your personal choice attributed to your quality at work and to your demeanor. While you do not have to provide a copy of the certificate to the employer, the employer can use your refusal as cause for termination, specifically for being terminated due to being intoxicated at work. It is your choice as to whether or not to comply, but what the employer is requesting here is fully within their rights and is something you should provide them if they request it.

If someone works in a bar, and has a drinking problem that the employer was aware of and was served too much alcohol that led to drunkenness and altercations with the police, and was then fired the next day, can the employee file for loss of income?

There is a concept of law called "contribution" which basically means that any actions on your part could offset the negligence of the other party.

In addition, all states are not, to some extent, employment at will states which mean that an employer can fire you for any reason other than an illegal one like race, age, gender, etc. While you might be able to make a claim that alcoholism is a disability, they would claim that they didn't fire you because you are an alcoholic, assuming you are, but instead because you were involved in the altercation with the police at one of their locations.

If someone works for a dentist who is drinking at work and working on patients drunk, what legal responsibility does the individual have in this matter?

You are not required to take action but may wish to report it. This is highly dangerous and improper. You may report it to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), dept of consumer affairs, the licensing board and even the police. Were you to leave because of such unsafe working conditions, you could collect unemployment benefits generally.

Drinking on the job can cause a person many hardships. Sometimes legal implications can come from drinking on the job or workplace. If you are in a situation such as this you can ask the Experts any questions you have that pertain to alcohol in the workplace, and drinking on the job laws.

Ask an Employment Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 8057
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
4460311
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Recent Drinking Questions

  • A Manager recenlty returned from a 30 day stay at an in-patient

    A Manager recenlty returned from a 30 day stay at an in-patient alcohol rehab facility. Prior to his rehab he received good evaluations due to his being a top salesperson. During his absence it was discovered he was not keeping up on paperwork and/or entering info into our data bases which is an essential component of his responsiblities as well as important documentation for the continued growth of our company. This deficiency was discussed in detail with him upon his return.
    Since his return he still has not complied with keeping up the databases nor submitting proper paper work. The staff under him are becoming frustrated. Yesterday he called out indicating his wife was threatening to kill both herself and him and that she has both a drinking problem and a mental problem / it runs in her family one of her sisters killed herself and another sister attempted suicide according to him. This information he provided to the staff. Staff reports he is creating a hostile work environment -- they are fearful the wife may come to the office and all staff are fearful of their own safety.
    This employee has lost the respect of his staff. We need to take action and have considered (1) termination (2) letting him continue to sell but reassigning the management responsibilities part of his job to another employee who we feel would do a more professional job.
    Since he just returned from rehab in July we don't want to take any action which may be considered retaliation and/or prohibited under the ADA.
    What are your recommendations?
  • Hello, I was fired recently from my job and their reason

    Hello,
    I was fired recently from my job and their reason for it was that they saw me put something in my purse then they assumed I stole something.
    In my case, it's not true. I didn't get anything from this restaurant. They are having many problems with management lately. And one of the problems is, their inventory showed a huge discrepancy on the bar inventory. For this reason, they assumed people are stealing and that is not the case. The real reason is, managers and some of the employees had been drinking heavily while working.
    I never did. I even was offered shot of tequila and I refuse it because I am not big a drinker and never had the habit drinking while working.
    I went to speak with the management who said they saw me putting something in purse because I want to see the video e prove to them that they did a mistake. I didn't stole anything.
    They refused talk with me in person then when I called, they said that they don't know what I was talking about it.
    I really need to get this straighten out and make sure they fired an innocent employee.
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    Thanks in advance
  • my chef was drunk and crashed her car into my garage. Not the

    my chef was drunk and crashed her car into my garage. Not the first issue with drinking. has a DUI from previous incident. I want to terminate her services- is firing and giving her two weeks severance pay sufficient?
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