Richard Grogan on employment law: Alcohol dependency and equality law



Richard Grogan
Richard Grogan

Employment law solicitor Richard Grogan of Richard Grogan & Associates writes on a recent Labour Court case.

In a case of Irish Aviation Authority and Christopher Reddin UDD1710, being a decision of the Labour Court, the Court dismissed the appeal and held that the dismissal was not unfair. In this case the Court stated:

“The Court is of the view that generally speaking when dealing with an employee who has an alcohol dependency problem, employers should give such employees an opportunity to seek professional treatment before considering dismissal. However, each case must be judged on its merits. Factors such as risk to safety, the level of responsibility the employee has and contact with the public are taken into account when deciding whether or not the penalty of dismissal was within the range of reasonable responses an employer might take.

“The respondent had on a number of occasions referred the complainant to occupational health to establish the nature of his dependency and to update itself on his state of health.”

In this case the Court pointed out there was a clear policy in place for all employees agreed with the staff unions on managing workplace intoxicants, supported by a protocol on random resting. The Court pointed out that there were clear policies.

This is a very important decision of the Court. It does act as a Guide to what actions employers should take where there is an issue of an employee with alcohol dependency problems or drug problems and the steps which an employer should take. This is a most helpful decision in acting as a Guide to employers on this issue.

  • Richard Grogan is the principal solicitor at Richard Grogan & Associates Solicitors. You can subscribe to the firm’s monthly newsletter at grogansolicitors.ie.