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Just one for the road

Employees of the prestigious and historic Lloyds of London have reacted angrily to the decision by the Company to ban certain staff from drinking between 9.00 am and 5pm. Over 800 employees now face being sacked for gross misconduct if found drinking during working hours.

A Lloyd’s spokesperson said: “Our employee guidance was recently updated and provided clarification on the Corporation’s position on drinking alcohol during the working day, which is prohibited.”

As you can imagine it has generated a huge social media response from their employees including:

“Lloyd’s used to be a fun place to work. Now it is the PC capital of the world where you can’t even go out for a lunchtime pint anymore?”

 “Was there really a need for this? The vast majority of my colleagues know how to drink responsibly during work hours, and would never let their lunch hour socialising affect their work or decision making.”

Whilst it is easy to be flippant about Lloyd’s decision, it appears that the policy change was introduced after they identified that, after an analysis of grievance and disciplinary cases over the last two years, they  found approximately 50% were related to alcohol misuse.

Alcohol and drug misuse can be a real problem in the workplace and can have a huge impact on the health, safety, morale and productivity of staff. Not only can their use lead to significant health problems but anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be a hazard to themselves and others. It can also damage the reputation of the business if an employee is under the influence of alcohol and drugs and is in a customer facing role.

You should be aware of a number of key pieces of legislation which relate to alcohol and drug misuse in the workplace:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 - section 2 - places a duty on an employer to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees.
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 - places a duty on an employer to assess the risks to the health and safety of employees. This means an employer can be prosecuted if they knowingly allow an employee to continue working while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and their behaviour places the employee themselves or others at risk.
  • Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 - makes it an offence for someone to knowingly permit the production, supply or use of controlled drugs on their premises except in specified circumstances (for example drugs prescribed by a doctor).

Although not applicable to all workplaces, these two Acts also put obligations on employers and workers:

  • Road Traffic Act 1988 - states that any person who, when driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, is unfit to drive through drink or drugs shall be guilty of an offence.
  • Transport and Works Act 1992 - makes it a criminal offence for certain workers to be unfit through drugs and/or drink while working on railways, tramways and other guided transport systems.

These often sensitive issues highlight the importance of having the right policies and procedures in place. Without such policies and procedures it can prove difficult to manage such issues in the workplace. As a client of HR:4UK you can  have access to a range of comprehensive policies and procedures, including a  substance misuse policy, which addresses alcohol and drug misuse in the work place.

If you would like further information on how you can implement a wide range of policies and procedures to assist you in managing staff issues, speak to one of our advisors by calling 01455 444222 or complete our online enquiry click here and an advisor will contact you shortly.

 

Joe Janda

HR Services Director