|Alcohol in the workplace.
The basis for any contract of employment is that the employee will
render a service to the employer in return for (usually) payment of a
sum of money. Linked to this is the understanding that the employee will
devote his full attention to his work, at least during working hours.
It may be argued that an employee who arrives at work under the influence
There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is a fairly serious
This being said, the seriousness of a specific offence will vary greatly
The same can be said of the offence of drinking on the job / coming to
Certainly in any job which involves the driving of a vehicle, an employee
In terms of the regulations to the Health and Occupational Safety Act,
In terms of the Constitution, no person who is accused of an offence
It must be noted that it is not fair to dismiss an employee on the basis
So now the problem arises of how to prove drunkenness. We must remember
For traffic purposes, a person is considered “drunk” or “under
If breathalyzer equipment is available, it should be used only by a person
As the use of a breathalyzer may constitute a breach of the employees
As with any offence, the next question is ‘what is the appropriate punishment’.
As the seriousness of the “crime” will vary from industry to
It should be noted that dismissal is a serious step and should only be
An employer is obliged to take an employees personal situation into account
All this being said, cases may arise where the company has no choice
A Case Study.
A recent Arbitration case which dealt with this issue was Le Roy and
In this case, the employee was a pilot and was dismissed after being
At the time of the incident, no breathalyzer tests were taken and only
This was considered a dismissible offence due to the fact that many lives
The Commissioner found the employees conduct to be “highly irresponsible”