Foul Play: When Workers 'Kick Off'

More than half a million people in Britain turn up to work with a hangover and, during Euro 2012 and possibly also during the Olympics, this figure is likely to soar. The knock-on effects of football or sport mania can cause huge headaches for employers. In the second of three articles covering the 2012 summer of sport employment issues, lawyers in our Employment Team answer some questions which you may be faced with. The Olympics and sport mania is likely to have knock-on effects for employers, especially if the effects of alcohol and frustration lead to violence inside or outside of the workplace. Will Walsh answers some of the most frequent questions. What should I do if an employee comes to work under the influence of alcohol after watching a match? If an employee comes into work under the influence of alcohol or you suspect that they might be, you may suspend them pending disciplinary action, particularly if their presence in the workplace might present a risk to their health and safety or that of their colleagues. Suspension pending disciplinary action would normally be on full pay, however, you may consider treating that day as sickness absence or requiring the employee to take it as annual leave. What about if post-match frustrations turn to violence in the workplace? Any act of violence committed by an employee in the work place is likely to constitute gross misconduct. Such an employee should be immediately suspended pending an investigation into the incident. The manager conducting the investigation should speak to witnesses and obtain statements where possible. Then, depending on the evidence, the employee should be invited to attend a disciplinary hearing. A decision to dismiss should only be taken after the employee has been allowed to state his or her case at a disciplinary hearing. An employee dismissed on grounds of gross misconduct should be given the right to appeal against that decision. However you do not have to wait for the outcome of that appeal before the dismissal can take effect. A subsequent successful appeal would just mean that they are reinstated and they would be entitled for their backdated pay for the intervening period. What if one of my employees is arrested and charged with an offence following an incident after a match? It is permissible to dismiss an employee if they have committed an act of misconduct outside the workplace provided that the conduct complained of is likely to affect the continued...

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