Can I get sacked drinking at work?

10 December, 2010

QI do not consider myself to be an alcoholic but I am surrounded by drink all day and I have started to drink at work during my breaks.

My boss has raised an eyebrow at this in the past but it does not affect my performance so I have continued.

However, now my boss has given me a verbal warning and has told me I will lose my job if I continue.

Can she do this??A You need to check your contract to see whether alcohol is explicitly mentioned and what rules exist for drinking in the store.

Not many off-licences include such clauses, but they’re definitely worth thinking about because temptation is never far away, as you point out, and there can be a fine line between a sampling session and a booze-up.

If you were an alcoholic, your employer would have an obligation to help you cope with your condition and to make certain allowances for you while you tried to recover. But it sounds like you’re not, and she’s treating it as straightforward misconduct.

She needs to be sure that your drinking is either in breach of your written contract, or that your activities are stopping you doing the job to the best of your abilities.

But lots of people regularly enjoy a pint or two at lunchtime with no negative effect on their work, and it would be hard for your boss to prove that a modest glass of wine while you relax with a newspaper was causing a problem. That’s assuming that you’re only drinking moderate quantities and paying for what you consume.

QAre there any countries that achieve an average price of more than £10 a bottle on wine sales??A Just one – Lebanon, which has an average sales value of £13.24 a bottle, according to Nielsen data for the year to September. That was up from £11.63 the previous year.

Its nearest rival is New Zealand. The Kiwis achieve an average price of £6.02 in the off-trade as a whole, but in independent shops that figure rises to £8.84.

A year ago it stood at £10.82, which is not bad going, considering how many consumers expect to get three bottles for that kind of money.

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