An Aer Lingus cabin crew member blamed a drinks night for turning up for duty drunk at 4.20pm the following day.
The airline sacked the “devastated and embarrassed” woman for gross misconduct after she turned up for work three times over the company’s alcohol limit.
The worker sued for unfair dismissal but the Labour Court has upheld the decision to sack the worker.
In the case, the woman crewed an flight from Dublin to Amsterdam on September 24, 2016. On touching down at Amsterdam, a colleague noticed that the worker “appeared disorientated and distracted” and reported her concerns to the captain.
The captain consulted HQ in Dublin and a decision was made to stand the worker down from duty and she returned to Dublin as a passenger. On arriving at Dublin, the worker was brought to Shamrock House as part Aer Lingus’s intoxicant policy, where she was breathalysed.
The result of the first breathalyser test was 30ug/100ml of breath and the result of the second was 28ug/100ml. The maximum permitted under the company’s intoxicant policy is 9ug/100ml of breath. The airline then mounted an investigation and disciplinary proceedings.
The day after a disciplinary hearing in October 2016, the worker wrote an email to the chair of the hearing, saying: “I can only blame myself for the outcome of the breathalyser and am devastated and embarrassed by this. In my defence, I did what a lot of people do by going out the evening before. I was naive. I truly thought I was okay, as I was not due into work until 4.20pm.”
On November 23, 2016, the company wrote to the worker to confirm she was being summarily dismissed for gross misconduct.
In its determination, the Labour Court found that Aer Lingus appropriately applied its intoxication policy in all the circumstances.
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