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Annie Hayes

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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.


Q: “We believe that one of our employees turned up for work drunk one afternoon. We could not however prove it so took no action. Could we have acted differently?”

A: You should not have allowed the employee to work if you suspected that he was drunk as he could have been a danger to himself and to others. Instead you should have run him home and then interviewed him on his return. If you were then satisfied that he was drunk you should have disciplined him. You do not need proof of drunkenness, only a well-founded belief. Ideally you should have two people make the assessment to give greater objectivity and they should record their findings in writing. If the employee slurred his words, had difficulty walking or standing, or smelt of booze you would be perfectly justified in assuming that he was drunk.

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Annie Hayes

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