Dealing with a drink-driving employee

June 15, 2018
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There are approximately 85,000 convictions for drink driving in the UK. If an employee was charged with drink driving, is it OK to dismiss them?

If a person is convicted (and a death isn’t involved), they can receive:

  • A minimum 12 months driving ban;
  • A criminal record;
  • A hefty fine;
  • A prison sentence; and
  • Endorsement on their licence for up to 11 years.

 If one of your employees is charged with drink driving, can you dismiss them?

Your initial reaction might well be to sack them for gross misconduct. Whilst this is understandable, a knee jerk reaction of this nature could see you end up in a lot of hot water yourself, particularly if they aren’t convicted following the Criminal Court Proceedings. This is because the courts view us all as innocent until proven guilty. Unless there is an actual criminal conviction, an employee isn’t guilty of any offence and you should not dismiss them for this reason.


What you may wish to do is talk to your employee and understand the circumstances and the severity of the charges they are facing. If they drive on your business insurance, inform your insurers of the situation.  Some insurers will be unwilling to continue to cover the employee, others may be more flexible. Where the employee drives for you under their own Insurance, it is important the employee speaks to their Insurers to see if they still have appropriate cover.

No insurance cover

Where an employee is required to drive for work but is unable to do so whilst undergoing criminal proceedings for drink driving, again you can’t automatically dismiss them.

Instead you should consider if they can temporarily be moved to another job role that doesn’t involve driving. If that impossible, you can suspend them on full pay pending the outcome of the courts proceedings. This should be your last resort after exhausting all other options.

If the employee is convicted, they’ll almost certainly lose their licence. Assuming they need it to carry out their job role, you could dismiss for gross misconduct – It is worth noting this in your list of Gross Misconduct offences. If they don’t need their licence to carry out the job role, you are unlikely to have grounds for dismissal.