How should employers deal with employees who turn up for work drunk or hung-over after watching a football World Cup match or other major sporting event?
If an employee attends work under the influence of alcohol after watching a match in a major football tournament such as the World Cup, or another major sporting event, or is unfit to work due to being hung-over, the employer should deal with the matter in line with its policy on alcohol use, and its disciplinary procedure. It should treat drunkenness at work in these circumstances as it would any other incidence of drunkenness (or unfitness for work as a result of previous alcohol consumption). Some employers strictly prohibit the drinking of alcohol during or before work, whereas moderate alcohol consumption may be permitted by others (for example during lunch breaks), provided that work performance is not affected. Depending on the employer's rules and the extent of the employee's breach, the employee's drunkenness should normally be addressed through the disciplinary procedure. Where the employer has put in place a specific policy in respect of alcohol use and, for example, the World Cup, it could apply this policy to address the matter.
Initially, the employer should interview the employee to try to establish the extent of the employee's condition. If he or she is incapable of working, or poses a risk to him- or herself, the employee should be sent home. Following an investigation, the employer may instigate its disciplinary procedure if this is appropriate.
Employers may be tempted to overlook an employee's attendance at work under the influence of alcohol, particularly if the employee is usually a good performer. However, it is preferable for employers to deal with employee drunkenness, to enforce the message that such conduct will not be tolerated. Failure to act could result in other employees attending work drunk in the belief that the employer will impose no sanction.