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HR tip: Proof of drunkenness

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


Question:

"One of our supervisors sent a man home for turning up to work drunk. However when we held a disciplinary meeting, the man insisted that he was not drunk and that we had no proof that he was. What should we have done?"

HR tip:

Your supervisor was right in sending the man home because a drunken employee can be a danger to himself and others and is unlikely to be able to work efficiently. I hope, however, that he did not allow the man to drive himself home.

The supervisor should immediately, after the event, write a report or make an entry in the log book explaining why he sent the man home and what led him to believe the man was drunk. He might state, for example, that the man spoke or behaved erratically, was not able to walk straight or stand upright. Ideally he should have another supervisor or employee make an assessment and either undersign the report or write a separate one. There is no need for further proof. The employee may have been perfectly sober but under the influence of properly prescribed medication. No matter. The supervisor reacted properly but needs to note his reason for doing so.

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