DUI Arrest

One of our employees didn't show up for work today. His mother called to say he had been arrested last night for DUI. Manager is asking what action we should take (i.e. if we should fire him). There's been no evidence of him coming to work under the influence. I responded that he had not violated any company policy; however, he could be disciplined for an unexcused absence. I suggested that when the EE returns that the manager should talk with him. If EE admits he has an alcohol problem that we suggest he get treatment and we will work with him. However, if EE says he had one too many for the road, that we remind him in any case if he shows up to work under the influence that he will teterminated. Am I on track with this issue?

About 5 years ago, this EE was suspended for testing positive for drugs. However, since then, he has had a clean record.


  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I do think you are somewhat on the right track. Just be sure that the discipline that might be administered for the unexcused absence is no different that what you would do for Sally that didn't call in when she had a hair appointment.

    I know I will be chastised by some for this comment, but.....

    Your first mistake was 5 years ago when this EE was not terminated for a positive drug screen. I am all for giving EEs a second chance for most things and if one of our EEs lets us know they have a problem, we do work with them. However, we have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to positive random or post-injury testing.
  • Thanks for your commment. Our Company drug policy allows a second chance. First time is 30-day suspension without pay and test at end of suspension to show you're clean; second strike and you're gone.
  • I see tremendous overreaction. A DUI more often than not simply means somebody was unlucky enough to hit a roadblock or get pulled over coming home after having one too many drinks, sometimes four beers while watching a football game at the sports bar.

    A DUI is what it is. But I don't see it as a signal that the employer or supervisor ought to plan to do this or that in response.

    Now, if he 'blew' twice the legal limit at 8:30 on a Sunday morning and this was his second or third, I might see cause for additional thought.

  • It really depends upon your policies...do you have any governing "off duty" actions?

    If not, it doesn't matter WHY he called off...the only discipline is for the call-off. Maybe even improper procedure because his mother called...but that, as said before, must be applied consistently.

    If you have and EAP then provide access to the contact information...otherwise, leave it alone.
  • I think I would be more concerned about your drug policy than this DUI. If you give an ee a second chance and they come to work high and some one is seriously injured due to the ee's action, than you put your company at a high risk. You might want to revisit that policy and go to a zero tolerance. Unless you continue to test this ee you will never know if they are in fact "clean".
  • I don't believe you mentioned whether this employee drives at all for his job. If he does or if you qualify as an employer subject to DOT rules, have another look at them. You may still have problems. We are a DOT employer and we do allow a second negative test before termination, but we also require a safe driving class, random testing and other things after the first negative test. DOT also has lower allowable levels of substances in the bloodstream to terminate.
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