Lloyd's of London Booze Ban - a Tipple Too Far?

Boozy-Lunches
Lloyd's of London has introduced a booze ban between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. What are the possible repercussions for their employees if they decide to flout the new rules?

In a statement, the company confirmed that it had been considering the ban for some time - to bring into line the industry norms, and also in response to uncovering that half of grievance and disciplinary cases over the last two years were related to alcohol.

Other firms such as QBE have previously advised staff not to drink as opposed to an outright ban, leaving it to their managers to decide the most appropriate course of action.

Substance misuse and the law

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, all employers have a duty to ensure a safe place for work and safe systems of work for their staff.  However, it also looks upon substance misuse which includes both alcohol and drugs (whether prescribed over the counter or controlled substances). Managing substance misuse at a workplace is also likely to engage the Data Protection Act 1998, for example in screening test results for drugs and/or alcohol and HR Records of how the employer have dealt with the worker.  Any results of any alcohol or drug test would amount to sensitive personal data concerning the individuals physical or mental health or condition. 

It is important that an employer has a clear policy in respect of drugs and/or alcohol. The purpose of any such policy is to increase awareness of the effects of alcohol and drugs misuse and to ensure that all staff are aware of their responsibilities regarding alcohol or drugs misuse and related problems. Staff who have an alcohol or drug related problem should be encouraged to seek help at an early stage and staff who have an alcohol or drug related problem affecting the work, are dealt with sympathetically, fairly and consistently.

The employers' stance

It is up to an employer as to whether they take a zero alcohol tolerance approach to the workplace and work-related events, or to limit that to normal working day i.e. the approach taken by Lloyd’s of London.

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