Brewery Employee's Dismissal for Drunk Driving Upheld

October 22, 2009 ( - An Australian brewery worker was terminated after being caught driving with a blood alcohol reading of 0.154, three times the legal limit.

Tasmania newspaper The Mercury reported that Lion Nathan, owner of the Boag brand, told the Australian Industrial Relations Commission it dismissed Nick Kolodjashnij because he had breached its responsible drinking policy and the company was concerned about adverse publicity.

Kolodjashnij argued that because he had informed his employer of the incident when he reported to work on the following Monday, and there had been no media coverage of the incident, his termination was harsh. He was let go two days after his confession.

Director of Corporate Affairs James Tait said Kolodjashnij placed the James Boag brewery’s reputation at serious risk, and because he was subject to a public hearing, “There is always the risk that this could be the subject of some media coverage which may disclose directly or indirectly the association of the employee with our organization,” according to the news account.

Industrial Relations Commissioner Barbara Deegan upheld Kolodjashnij’s dismissal. “The applicant was aware that the policy extended to prohibit employees from drink-driving including out-of-work hours and in non-work vehicles,” Deegan said, according to The Mercury. “He was also aware that the respondent would consider any breach of that part of the responsible drinking policy a serious breach which could lead to the termination of his employment.”