• I have caught one of my company's employees drinking alcohol during work hours. I submitted him to a breathalyser examination and subsequently terminated him under Article 52 of the Labour Code. The employee, however, appealed to the Labour Court, asserti
  • The Supreme Court has already addressed such type of situations in its jurisprudence. And so, in its ruling of 22 September 2004, case I PK 576/03, the Supreme Court found that the employer's use of a unattested device for examination of alcohol content does not preclude charging the employee with showing up for work after consuming alcohol if other circumstances support that and the employee did not pursue the opportunity given to the employee to verify the results of the examination. At the same time one has to bear in mind that consuming alcohol at work is pretty much a textbook case of material breach of basic employee obligations as referred to in Article 52 of the Labour Code (Polish: KP), which has found reflection in numerous holdings of the Supreme Court (I PKN 462/99, I PKN 344/99). For this reason, the best method of protection against the employee's claims will be, other than submitting the results of the breathalyser examination, to provide witness testimony to confirm the consumption of alcohol by that employee.