Drinking and working?

Drinking and working?

Court backs electrician sacked for drinking alcohol during working day

Spanish firm ordered to pay €47,000 compensation or reinstate worker with 27 years’ service.

A court has found against a company who fired an electrician for drinking alcohol at work, ruling it had failed to prove the man’s intake made him incapable of doing his job or driving.

The man in question was working in the Murcia region of Spain and was employed for 27 years by the firm before he was dismissed in September 2021 following an investigation by a private detective. The man and his colleagues were followed for several days over a “hot Murcia summer”, another factor the court took into account.

Among the detective’s findings was that the man and his colleagues stopped one lunchtime to buy food along with four cans of San Miguel and a litre bottle of Estrella de Levante beer. Later the same afternoon, the man was seen drinking a can of beer and a little before 6.30pm, he was seen buying and drinking another can of beer before driving back to the company’s base in Murcia to leave the van there.

Seven litres of beer

On another occasion he and two colleagues were seen drinking a total of seven litres of beer from mid-morning through to the end of their lunchbreak. Later on the same day, the sacked worker drunk two 330ml cans of what was identified as Heineken, before drinking another can of beer and heading back to the company office. Six days later, he was seen drinking a 330ml bottle of beer before lunch, before drinking three glasses of red wine with his meal, followed by a shot of pomace brandy.

In September 21, he received a letter that he being sacked for “repeated and excessive alcohol consumption during the working day, which endangered his physical wellbeing and that of his workmates” both while on the job and driving the company vehicle.

The court, however, found against the company saying “at no time did the private detective make mentions of signs of inebriation or clumsiness when it came to walking”, and it was not proved “that his physical and mental faculties were reduced or diminished during his tasks as an electrician, nor that he was impeded when he drove the company van”.

The court also said that the drinking took place almost exclusively during breaks in the working day, and it had not been possible to determine how much beer the man had consumed, making it hard to gauge whether he had been over the limit to drive. Another factor was events occurred in the “month of July in Murcia and Cartagena, where the climatic conditions and the geographical habits should be considered.”

The firm was ordered it to reinstate the sacked worker, or pay him €47,000 (£42,000) in compensation.

Adam Murray
Adam Murray
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