Scotland: Factory worker fired for drinking beer nine hours before shift – Metro.co.uk


Malgorzata Krolik was fired from the Young's factory in Livingston after she had three beers
Malgorzata Krolik was fired from the Young’s factory in Livingston after she had three beers (Picture: Google)

A factory worker was wrongly fired for drinking beer nine hours before her shift started, a tribunal has found.

Malgorzata Krolik had three beers at 5am and still smelt of alcohol when she began her afternoon shift at the Young’s seafood factory in Livingston later that day.

She was sacked due to the company’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach to alcohol but judges found her actions were equivalent to someone drinking the night before going to work.

Ms Krolik had worked as a salmon processor at the Scottish factory for 11 years before the incident in August 2020.

The Polish mother arrived at work for a 2pm until 10pm shift and was immediately called into a staff briefing.

She lost her temper after being told she was being forced to take leave to coincide with work being carried out on the production line.

The tribunal heard she started crying, so team manager Rolands Piekmans comforted her by giving her a hug and smelt alcohol on her.

She was then asked by bosses if she had been drinking and she replied: ‘I have had one, no three beers before work this morning as I have had trouble sleeping and that is maybe why you smell the alcohol.’

Ms Krolik admitted to having an alcohol problem but denied she was under the influence at the time and offered to do a breathalyser test.

Bosses said that wouldn’t be necessary as she had already admitted drinking the beer.

Mr Glidden told her Youngs’ ‘zero tolerance’ policy on alcohol meant employees could not drink on the same day they worked and she was suspended and later fired for gross misconduct.

But the tribunal ruled Ms Krolik was unfairly dismissed as her behaviour was ‘equivalent to an employee consuming three beers by 11pm at night, sleeping for a number of hours, and then attending work at 9am the following day’.

Employment Judge Jude Shepherd said the company had jumped to the assumption that Ms Krolik was under the influence of alcohol because she had ‘behaved out of character’.

‘It was not reasonable for the respondent to conclude that the claimant posed a health and safety risk to herself or other employees on this basis without further investigation,’ the judge concluded.

Ms Krolik won a claim of unfair dismissal and was awarded £5454.29 in compensation.

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