Alcohol is the Devil’s handiwork – Alcohol in the workplace (Loyens & Loeff)
Date of publication: 18/06/2018
Enzo, one of your shift workers, watches the match between the Red Devils and Panama in his local pub before he starts his late shift at 20h. During the debrief with the previous shift, team leader Jean-Marie quickly discovers that Enzo didn’t just drink water in the pub. What can Jean-Marie do?
The first question that arises: can Enzo be tested for the use of alcohol? Yes this is possible, provided that testing is foreseen in the work regulations in the framework of a preventive alcohol and drug policy for the company pursuant to CLA nr. 100. However, not every form of testing is allowed: only uncalibrated tests are permissible. Psycho-motoric tests and breath analyzers are allowed, blood or saliva tests in principle not, not even if the company doctor intervenes.
Testing for alcohol and drugs can only be done for preventive purposes, e.g. to decide if Enzo can start his shift, to deny him certain positions in the future and to redirect him to the appropriate support or counseling.
However, the fact that the tests are only possible for preventive purposes does not mean that Enzo cannot be sanctioned. The sanction however cannot be based solely on the test results. If the entire team has noticed that Enzo was intoxicated, then the test only constitutes a last verification and a sanction can therefore be imposed.
But what if Enzo refuses the test? It is his right to do so, but again, the other findings should suffice to decide on temporary removal and possible sanctions.
Since Enzo is responsible for the fact that he could not commence his work as normally foreseen, no wage should be paid to him for this shift.
Testing for drugs and alcohol has to be implemented in a procedure that, for example, must determine who can be tested and when, and which must also include a procedure on how to return Enzo safely to his home.