Factory worker fired for drinking beer nine hours before shift wins payout
The worker was sacked for drinking on the same day as her shift
A worker who was sacked for drinking beer nine hours before her shift has been awarded more than £5,000 by a judge at a tribunal.
Malgorzata Krolik was a worker at Young's seafood factory in Livingston but was fired in August this year when she turned up for her 2pm shift and her manager smelt alcohol on her breath. She admitted that she had drank three beers at 5am that morning to help her sleep - a full nine hours before she was due to start work - but was sacked for drinking in the same day as her shift.
The company said it had a strict "zero tolerance" policy on alcohol and that workers were forbidden to drink on the same day as their shift.
However, the judge at the tribunal ruled that there was no real difference between Krolik drinking in the early hours of the morning before her afternoon shift and someone who went out drinking the night before a morning shift. The tribunal heard that what Krolik had done was the equivalent of someone having a drink at 11pm the night before a 9am shift.
The Mail reports that the tribunal also heard there had been no proper investigation into the incident and the claims that she posed a health and safety risk by having the 5am drink.
Krolik had worked at the factory for 11 years before the incident.
On the day she turned up to work she was called into a briefing and told that she would need to take annual holiday while work was carried out on a production line at the factory. She apparently lost her temper when she heard this, but later apologised.
When she became tearful, a team manager gave her a hug but noticed the smell of alcohol on her breath.
After being asked if she had been drinking, Krolik admitted to having drank three beers before going to sleep at 5am.
She apparently said: "I have had one, no three beers before work this morning as I have had trouble sleeping and that is maybe why you smell the alcohol."
As a result of this, she was taken to the factory's health and safety manager, who said he had reason to believe she was under the influence of alcohol. Following these events, Krolik was ultimately suspended and then fired.
The tribunal ruled that she had been unfairly dismissed though, and she was awarded £5,454.29 in compensation.
Judge Jude Shepherd said: "It was not reasonable for the respondent to conclude that the claimant posed a health and safety risk to herself or other employees on this basis without further investigation."
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