Scotland: Woman who was fired for reporting drunk to work wins £5,500 suit

A seafood factory in Scotland’s Livingston gave a compensation of £5,454 to one of their employees they had fired for drinking beer, nine hours before her shift started.

Malgorzata Krolik’s shift used to start at 2 pm at Young’s seafood factory, and hours before it commenced, she consumed three beers at 5 am.

Krolik told her bosses about drinking the beer, after which they fired her.

In its defence, the company said it had a ‘zero tolerance’ rule when it came to alcohol. As per the company’s rules, employees are not allowed to drink on the same day of their shift.

Krolik had been working with the company for the past 11 years when the incident took place in August 2020.

According to a report in the Metro, on the day of the incident the woman arrived for a 2-10 pm shift and was immediately called for an employee briefing.

During the meeting, she had a heated argument with her superiors, following which she stormed out of the room.

However, upon realising her mistake, she apologised to her bosses and broke down in tears. One of her team managers reached out to comfort her but was taken aback after smelling alcohol on her.

When questioned about drinking, Krolik admitted that the night before, she had some trouble sleeping. Therefore, she drank three beers. Despite multiple pleadings, the company fired her on the basis of violating a rule.

The matter reached a tribunal and after listening to both sides, judge Jude Shepherd opined that Krolik was unfairly dismissed.

He believed that there was no real difference between her drinking in the early hours before an afternoon shift than someone working a 9 am shift and having alcohol the night before.

“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 added.

The company was ordered to pay £5,454 as compensation to Krolik.