Alcohol in the workplace: what the employer can and can’t do

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The Labour Code (Code du travail) does not contain any specific provisions relating to alcohol in the workplace. We have to refer to (I) the general rules regarding health and safety in employment law, in particular to determine (II) the requirements of case law concerning proof of alcohol-influenced behaviour, and (III) the admissible means of evidence.

Pursuant to Article L. 312-1 (3) of the Labour Code, the employer is obliged to guarantee the health and safety of employees in every aspect of work. 

In this context, the employer can prohibit the consumption of alcohol at work. 

The employer can set up this kind of obligation in its employment contracts or in its internal rules. Nevertheless, mere prohibition of alcohol consumption at work is not always sufficient to prevent the employees from drinking alcohol and, as a result, employers may choose to pay particular attention to the health and safety of employees in this context…

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