Can we terminate a manager who got drunk at our annual company event? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Can we terminate a manager who got drunk at our annual company event?

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Q. Our organization has a four-day annual meeting for our managers, directors and leaders from 40 offices across the United States. The evening before the meeting ends, we host a large, fun, casual theme party. During this year’s party one of the sales managers from an affiliate office became so intoxicated that she had to be held up and escorted back to her room, where a hospital medical staff member stayed with her to make sure she was okay. The following day she skipped the remaining meeting sessions and took an early flight home. Is this grounds for dismissal?

A. Be careful. Assuming the manager is an at-will employee, the company could decide to terminate her for intoxication at a company event. However, before you pull the trigger, look at your past practices. Has anything similar occurred before? How did the company handle that situation?

In addition, be aware that you are setting a precedent if you decide to terminate this manager. Are you prepared to terminate any manager who becomes intoxicated at company events in the future? You cannot set a higher standard of behavior for this female manager than you would for any of your male managers.

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