Employee was Drunk at Work
Common HR Questions
Q: We have an employee who came to work yesterday and was drunk. She ran her car into the building and then tried to back up and ran into it again. We called her husband and he came and picked her up. She took all of her belongings with her, so we thought that she was quitting. She came into work today. Now what do we do?
A: The best course of action would have been for the Member to call for support immediately. They do have a drug testing policy in place which states that if an employee comes into work and they have reasonable suspicion that they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that the company would document this and then send the employee to a drug testing facility. The testing and transportation to the testing would be done at the company’s expense. In this case, if the test had come back positive for drugs or alcohol, their policy would’ve allowed them to discipline the employee up to and including termination. They would have terminated that employee. End of story.
HOWEVER, they did not call until the next day. By this point, the employee might not test positive for alcohol. So the next best course of action would be to document the behavior, give the employee a warning, and move forward.
MEA provided them with a sample policy to make sure that they are up to date and clear on their language, as well as a report template for documenting their reasonable suspicion.
MEA’s goal is to provide current, detailed and useful information to HOTLINE callers, but our responses do not constitute legal advice about what you should or should not do in a particular situation. You should always consult legal counsel, in the context of a confidential attorney-client relationship, before taking any action that could have legal implications for you or your business. If legal services are needed, MEA members are entitled to a discounted fee arrangement with the Powell Trachtman law firm, which serves as MEA’s general counsel. For more information, contact Michael G. Trachtman at firstname.lastname@example.org.