The Higher Tribunal for Murcia (TSJMU) has ruled that an electrician who was dismissed in September 2021 for drinking alcohol at work had wrongfully lost his job. According to the judgment of the court of this Spanish region, the company is to reinstate him or pay him €47,000 in severance pay (equivalent to about PLN 217,000), reports the Guardian.
The electrician, whose name is not given by the media, has worked for the company for 27 years. He was dismissed in September 2021 due to “repeated and excessive consumption of alcohol during the day at work, which was a threat to the health of himself and his colleagues”. According to the TSJMU, the dismissal was unfair because the employer had failed to prove that the man had become intoxicated as a result of drinking, and thus failed to prove that he was unfit for work.
According to the Spanish-language portal Confilegal, the man was suspended from performing his duties for 13 days in 2020 due to alcohol consumption at work. The fine was overturned by the court after an appeal by the electrician. Now the court has ordered the company to either rehire the man or pay him a severance payment of €47,000.
An electrician was dismissed for drinking alcohol on the job, which the court said was unfair
The company decided to end the 27-year partnership after a private detective it hired followed an electrician and his associates for several dozen consecutive days. It determined, among other things, that on July 5, 2021, at lunchtime, the man was to go to the store with his friends, where they bought food and four cans of beer and an additional one-liter bottle of beer. That afternoon, the electrician was caught with another can of beer. Around 6:30 p.m., the former employee was supposed to go to the store for more alcohol, then finish his shift and return the company car to the company’s headquarters. Two weeks later, during a lunch break, the electrician and two colleagues drank seven liters of beer. On the same day, before arriving at the company’s headquarters, he was to consume three extra cans of beer. Six days later, a detective recorded that the electrician had drunk a can of beer, four glasses of red wine and a glass of brandy in one day. His dismissal was motivated by “repeated and excessive consumption of alcohol at work”. As it was noted, in its aftermath, the man could have been under the influence not only while performing his official duties, but also while driving a company car.
However, according to the court, the man’s dismissal was unfair. “The detective noted no mention of any signs of intoxication or clumsiness of the men,” the statement said in the judgment, quoted by the Guardian. “There is no evidence – documents, expert opinions or witness accounts – that would clearly indicate that the man was under the influence of alcohol and was in a state of intoxication, intoxication or intoxication,” the court found. As the Higher Tribunal for Murcia further argued, “it has also not been proven, not even on circumstantial evidence, that his physical and mental fitness was impaired while performing his duties as an electrician.” The court also found that the man most often consumed alcoholic beverages during his lunch break, not while performing his duties at work.
Main photo source: Shutterstock