Ask the Code - Lunchtime drinker
Dear Code of Conduct,
I often have a beer at lunch when I’m out with co-workers for lunch. I never have too much but based on The City’s Substance Use Policy I wonder if I could lose my job because of this.
- Lunchtime drinker
The answer is ‘it depends.’ If you hold a ‘safety-sensitive’ position you cannot be under the influence of alcohol, hallucinogenic or mind-altering substances while at work. Even one beer could put you in this category.
If you are not in a safety-sensitive position, the answer is different. You may be able to have a beer as long as you are able to report back ‘fit for work.’ Use sound judgement on whether having a drink would affect your work.
I would also advise you to see if your business unit has any additional restrictions around the use of alcohol before you have the drink at lunch. If you don’t already know, you may want to ask your supervisor if he or she is aware of this business-specific rule.
You may also want to take this opportunity to see if you have a substance use problem. (See the response to “ Dear Troubled” for more information).
If a substance use professional diagnoses you with a dependency, the City has a duty to accommodate you. If you do not have a dependency, and are determined unfit for work while on the job based on your use of alcohol or another substance, then you could be disciplined up to and including termination.