Drinking on the job

Abby Gillies at NZ Herald reports:

A company has been cleared after firing two senior workers and health and safety representatives caught drinking in the locker room during a liquor ban.

Henry Nee Nee and Andy Nathan claimed they were unfairly dismissed from Auckland-based import and export handling company C3 following the February incident that involved a group of employees drinking on site.

They said they were singled out for disciplinary action because they were union delegates and representatives on the health and safety committee.

Does being a union delegate mean you can drink on the job?

I would have thought being a health & safety rep would require model behaviour.

Nathan denied drinking on the premises and Nee Nee said he had drunk only ginger beer.

However, the investigation concluded Nee Nee had invited a group of six employees to drink beer in the locker room and all five drank 66 bottles of beer between them.

66 bottles between five? That’s would be impressive if it were not at work.

In disciplinary meetings, Nee Nee and Nathan admitted they had initially falsely denied their involvement, saying they had acted unwisely.

In April they were dismissed for serious misconduct – a decision they appealed against.

ERA member Eleanor Robinson found that unlike the other men involved in the incident, Nee Nee and Nathan “had tried to mislead C3 about what had occurred … and had not admitted their culpability until the disciplinary meetings on 5 April 2012”.

So, as if often the case, it was the lying that got them sacked.

As an employer I’ll often only give warnings even if dismissal is warranted. But if an employee lies, that makes it incredibly difficult to ever have sufficient trust in them again. We all stuff up at work from time to time – but lying about it makes it worse.