Can we discipline an employee for being drunk at the Christmas party?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 7 December 2010
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

It really depends on the circumstances but in most cases the answer will be no. It would be difficult to discipline employees for being drunk per se, particularly when alcohol is often free (and free-flowing) at the party. That said drinking off duty can be a potentially fair reason for dismissal on conduct or capability grounds. Disciplinary action may therefore be justified if, for example, the employee’s conduct is adversely affected by drinking alcohol at the party, or if the party is not just a social event. If clients are present at the party, it is likely that you will be entitled to have more control (on business interest grounds) over how much your employees drink and a greater

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Arthur Cox. Contact telephone number is +44 28 9026 2673 or email

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