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05th Oct 2022

Welder awarded €15,000 for unfair dismissal despite admitting to drinking alcohol before work

Hugh Carr

welder drinking

The welder admitted to drinking a beer at 6.30am “as there was no water in the house”.

A welder in Louth has been awarded €15,000 for unfair dismissal, despite admitting to drinking before arriving to work.

Eduard Markovskij submitted the complaint against his former employer Suretank Limited under section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2015.

“The complainant had presented at work and ‘was unstable and appeared to be under the influence of either alcohol or drugs’,” IBEC said.

“He was subsequently brought into a portacabin by two of his managers and it was concluded that he was unfit for work.”

Marksovskij allegedly admitted to attending a party the night before the incident and said that he woke up at 6.30am and he had a beer as there was no water in the house.

The welder agreed to be tested by the company doctor in line with company policy, but the doctor was unavailable. Management at Suretank asked if he would allow someone else administer the test, but Marksovskij refused unless it would be a GP.

Following the investigation, Suretank upheld the allegation despite no test having been taken because he was “under the influence of something”, with the welder being suspended with pay.

The welder submitted that it was not possible to prove that he had been under the influence of alcohol or other substance as Suretank failed to enact their own policy and carry out a test by or under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner.

He further said that both managers “could not determine if what they were observing was the result of a combination of high blood pressure and excessive caffeine or other medical condition”.

The Adjudicator for the case slammed Suretank’s procedure during the case.

“From the evidence adduced it would appear that the investigation was in some way instigated by HR but not overseen by HR.

“It is incredible that Manager A who was a witness to the incident was asked by Manager B to be the note taker at the investigation meeting. Manager B was also a witness to the incident. The investigation process did not produce a report of their findings.

“There was evidence that minutes were produced in addition to the notes of the initial incident which were entirely compiled by Managers A and B. They were, as a matter of fact, investigating their own complaints.

“The respondent’s own submission clearly states Manager A and Manger B brought the complainant into a portacabin ‘and came to their own conclusion he was under the influence of alcohol.’

“There was no independent investigation of this matter by the respondent.”

The dismissal was subsequently found to be unfair, and the welder was awarded compensation to the value of €15,000.

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