No candy-coated outcome at the chocolate factory (Arbitration)

Arbitrator upholds employer’s decision to send worker, who smelled of liquor, home without pay
By Lorna Harris
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/15/2006

Tom Cleary, a machine operator with 10 years’ seniority at a Hershey chocolate factory in Dartmouth, N.S., arrived for his afternoon shift smelling of alcohol. At least that’s what Richard Harris, the processing supervisor, thought when he saw Cleary 15 minutes before his 3 p.m. shift began.

Cleary insisted he hadn’t had a drink since 1 a.m. and attributed his glassy-eyed appearance to the fact he had slept poorly. Following company policy, Harris asked another supervisor, Matthew Huntley, for his opinion. Initially Huntley didn’t concur, but after Harris closed the office door, he agreed there was a strong smell of alcohol coming from Cleary.

Cleary was sent home and docked one day’s pay. According to an apparently well-known company policy, employees were to be sent home if they came to work smelling of liquor. They were not paid for the missed shift, but no other discipline was imposed.