Curley v Iarnród Éireann
EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
CASE NO. UD119/2015
The Tribunal has carefully considered the evidence adduced in the course of this comprehensive hearing.
The claimant was dismissed from his employment of seventeen years in October 2014 (affirmed on appeal in November 2014) for attending work in an inebriated state on the 19 August 2014. The claimant's manager had been notified on that day of the claimant's erratic behaviour and directed that the claimant be tested for drugs and alcohol by the independent third party tester. The claimant failed the alcohol test conducted by way of a breathalyser test and the test for drugs came back negative.
The claimant was suspended on full pay when the results were made known to his employer. The Tribunal was advised that the claimant had in his system almost six times the allowable level ofalcohol as measured in drink driving cases. The claimant's solicitor challenged the veracity of the breathalyser test but the Tribunal notes that this evidence was not challenged in any of the earlier proceedings and must accept the claimant's clear oral evidence that on the evening before the test was conducted that he had in fact drank up to five bottles of wine and arrived at work with only four hours sleep.
The Tribunal heard much evidence concerning the claimant's difficult history leading up to the incident and the Tribunal has every sympathy for the claimant who came across as a reliable and honest witness. The claimant accepts that he had been wrestling with alcohol issues for some time prior to the incident in question but regardless of whether this was the first time or the tenth time that the claimant had arrived to work with so much alcohol in his system is irrelevant. The Tribunal has to accept (even if it was a first time one off incident) any employer expected to run a safe and hazard free workplace is well within the limits...
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