A lunchtime drinking ban could be more trouble than it’s worth

Fri 24th Feb 2017

Following reports that Lloyd’s has introduced a lunchtime drinking ban, Philip Sayers, Employment lawyer at Coodes Solicitors, comments on how a business could impose such a rule on staff.

“Lloyd’s in the City of London has introduced an outright ban on staff drinking alcohol during work hours. Boozy lunches are clearly more prevalent in some professions than others. For businesses like Lloyd’s that rely on networking, having a social drink with clients could be seen as important. For roles that involve driving or operating machinery, drinking alcohol during work hours is clearly inappropriate and will generally be reflected in contracts. However, if a company feels that staff lunchtime drinking is affecting performance – or having a negative impact on workplace culture – is an outright alcohol ban the best option?

“A new requirement of this nature could amount to a new contractual term. That means that employees could refuse to comply and resist any disciplinary action. To justify the new terms of the contract, the employer would need to base their decision on a belief that alcohol intake at lunchtime seriously affects staff performance. If a business does want to go ahead with such a ban, they would need to ensure staff fully understand the reasons before imposing a new contractual term.

“Any other companies considering following Lloyd’s lead would be wise to carefully think through the implications before introducing a ban. How much of a problem is lunchtime drinking? Could you justify a change in the terms of your contracts?”

For more information on this or any Employment enquiries contact Philip Sayers, Employment team, Coodes Solicitors on 01872 246200 or philip.sayers@coodes.co.uk

Fri 24th Feb 2017

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