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Can you be fired because someone smelled alcohol on your breath and collect unemployment

by Sarah

I went out for a drink the night before work and the next day a girl smelled alcohol on my breath though I was able to function in my job perfectly fine with witnesses. If they fire me for that, can I get Unemployment?

Hi Sarah,

I'm assuming you're located in Portland Oregon. First, you need to read 657.176 here. You'll have to scroll down a bit to find it, but it will tell you what can disqualify you from benefits.

Again, each state is different. Even when two states have very similar statutes they can be interpreted differently.

My first thought, given the information you provided is to ask you...Did the employer send you for a test to confirm your blood alcohol level?

A large part of Oregon's unemployment disqualification statute has to do with exactly this subject.

It is extremely difficult for an employer to show good cause for firing someone for drug or alcohol use without a test. Of course if they have good cause to request the test and you refuse the test...they could now show good cause for a rule violation.

Of course, this is all dependent upon the written policy.

Read the statute and apply it to your situation.


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by: walter

Can you be fired because someone smelled alcohol in your tea and not your breath and collect unemployment?


I had to go back and read the original question and the answer I gave.

First of all, I should of paid more attention to what the question was asking .. same as you and distinguish between being fired for something smelling like alcohol, be it breath or a glass of liquid.

Yes, you can be fired for pretty much any reason an employer deems to fire you, however when it comes to that discharged person collecting unemployment benefits .. you have to prove misconduct actually occurred because a termination from employment put the burden of proof on the employer.

So, I'll put it this way, if I were an employer and I had an employee who I suspected of consuming alcohol .. I would refer to the employee handbook I would of given to every employee at time of hire and followed my policy regarding consuming alcohol or doing drugs while at work.

Why? Because the policy would be framed in such a way as to allow management legitimately concerned a violation was being committed could take the appropriate action to prove or disprove an accusation.

So you tell me .. would you have an argument to collect unemployment if you were fired because someone could only testify that your tea .. not your breath smelled like alcohol?

Or would the employer witness have additional testimony to compel the unemployment dept. to find them more credible than you at your word?

same sit.
by: Anonymous

I am currently going through the same thing.
I worked at a job for ONE day and they claimed that I was glossy eyed and whispering after returning from lunch and smelled like alcohol. I had been at work since 545am. Meaning i woke up at 4am to look presentable and get there in time. I am currently about to start a new job and now (6 mths after this incident) they are filing for a hearing one week into starting said job. I offered to take a test that day which was denied. I am hoping that the judge will take this into consideration. They have already charged me two weeks of unemployment 6 mths later and a $100 fine thats $900!!!!You arent the only one whos going through this misery. Stay strong, and just be honest.

Drug and alcohol rules about getting unemployment benefits
by: Anonymous

I went through the same thing and lost my job of 15 years and they denied unemployment. Once again check the state law and get an attorney if you can cause when you try to get another job and they call your last job, guess what human resources is going to tell them. It makes you seem like you was drinking at work and being an alcoholic.

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