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We had a team building event where around 7 of us from the team got together on our days off at the lake.  At the lake we had hard liquor and a bunch of the guys were drinking the liquor straight from the bottle which is the norm around here.  One of my employees got really drunk and wanted to go to the lake to splash off a bit.On the way over he fell down due to having too much to drink.  We had to help him into a Taxi to send him home.  He wasn't belligerent and didn't do anything other then wanting to get to the lake to splash himself with water.  He is a good worker and this is the first time I've had any issue with him.  He apologized at work for drinking too much and felt bad for getting that drunk.  I think though that I should fire him for cause for getting that drunk and it would be a good example to others.  What are your thoughts?

mike_bruns_99's picture

This was a company sponsored event.  As far as the team (and the legal system) is concerned, you are the company.    
 
If anyone had been involved in an accident returning home, the company could have been sued and found liable.
 
By you allowing the excessive drinking, you and the company approved.  Your authority doesn't end when you leave the 4 walls of your building.  You had the responsibility to curb the behavior.  Most companies would have fired you.
 
To answer your question, don't fire the employee.  But use this as a lesson to correct your own, and your team's behavior.
 
You dodged a bullet.

DJ_150's picture
tabitharizzio's picture

Why would you have a team building event w/booze?

Does your team conduct work and engage w/each other on a daily basis where drinking is included?

Probably not is my guess.

People sometimes confuse "team building events" w/social hour.

The purpose of the team building event is to enhance the team dynamic to increase efficiencies and effective work relationships and thus the work product produced by the team.

A true team building event should mirror the environment and dynamics work the team on day-to-day basis.

cnsharkey's picture

Some key parts to the story that jumped out at me. "guys were drinking the liquor straight from the bottle which is the norm around here", "He is a good worker and this is the first time I've had any issue with him" and "He apologized at work for drinking too much and felt bad for getting that drunk". Sounds like he was giving in to a little peer pressure. 

Maybe he didn't know how the alcohol would hit him. If he is a good employee, which it sounds like he is, a discussion is all that is needed. He is embarrassed and is not going to forget what happenned anytime soon. The memory is going to be punishment enough. Sounds like a great moment for feedback or coaching. Firing seems a little extreme to me.