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How to avoid dismissal for alcohol and drug dependence

Depending on the behaviour or performance issue that highlights the dependency problem, your Employer may choose to initially treat an Alcohol or drug dependence issue as a health problem requiring a capability process, which can be escalated to a disciplinary if the problem persists. If it is a serious performance or behaviour issue, your Employer can go straight to the disciplinary process and you could lose your job. This Guide helps you avoid dismissal with information on your legal rights and resources to help you defend yourself or take the best course of action for your particular circumstances.

It covers what you need to know, taking you quickly and simply through essential information on;

• The applicable law and your legal rights
• Remedies available to you
• Case law on alcohol and drug dismissals
• Guidance on what to do


Alcohol and drug dependency have an impact on your ability to work safely and correctly. Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, your employer has a duty to ensure that the working environment is free from the inappropriate use of substances and all employees are able to carry out their duties in a safe and efficient manner to protect the safety of the workplace. This includes ensuring that no employees are working under the influence of alcohol and drugs. This could also apply to being under the influence of alcohol or drugs outside of work.

This Guide is your essential resource on your employment rights regarding alcohol and drug dependence, or mistakes and what you can do if you are facing disciplinary action for using alcohol or drugs, or for having alcohol or drugs in your possession at work or outside work.

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