Having a glass or two of wine to unwind is something most people enjoy on occasion. But when that happens during a work day in Ontario, there could be consequences. But depending upon the situation, being dismissed from a job because of it may be grounds for wrongful termination.
An Ontario court case looked at whether having some wine during business hours was enough to merit firing an employee. The employee in question admitted that prior to a couple meetings he had a glass of wine with his lunch. The employee’s manager told him there were complaints regarding his alcohol use, and the employee was fired without notice. The court didn’t agree with the move.
The judge ruled that one glass one wine could not be labelled misconduct. Misconduct is a grounds for dismissal only when it leads to a breakdown of an employment relationship. In addition, a zero tolerance policy regarding alcohol was only added to the company policy manual after the employee was fired.
Regarding the law on drinking and working — it remains a murky area. The law looks at these situations on an individual basis. In this case, the employee was never told by management that he might lose his job if he had a glass of wine on his lunch break.
When employees in Ontario are unsure whether they have been the victim of a wrongful termination, they would do well to consult with a lawyer experienced in these types of situations. In these instances, a lawyer would be able to go over evidence to see whether he or she believes the termination was justified or not. If a lawyer believes the client was wrongfully dismissed from a job, a claim for compensation may be appropriate.
Source: findlaw.ca, “Can you drink alcohol during work hours?”, Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Oct. 7, 2017