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I drank the night before work. The following day I was told I smelled of alcohol and they did a bac test on me. I blew a 0.053.

Richland, WA |

I had no idea I still had alcohol in my system. I did admit I have a drinking problem but I have never drank before work. Could I be fired for this? What options do I have?

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Attorney answers 2


Unless you have a contract with the employer that limits the employer's ability to fire you or you are a government employee, you likely are an at-will employee.

If you are an at-will employee, your employer does not need any reason to fire you. As long as the employer is not discriminating against you based on a prohibited basis (such as race, gender, religion, age, service on a jury, etc.), the employer can fire you at any time.

More information about unlawful discrimination is at .

There are cases of persons claiming that alcoholism is a disability for which employers must provide reasonable accommodation to the affected employees.

"What options do I have?" Probably the best one is learn to control how much you drink. If you have health insurance, the insurance likely covers most or all of the cost of treatment.

You can review the specific facts with your attorney to see what legal options you may have.


Yes, you can be fired. If you were driving a commercial vehicle there would be additional consequences and you would likely lose your CDL. In any event, driving or not, you were being payed for work you performed while still functioning with alcohol in your body. You obviously have a high tolerance for alcohol. Get into treatment and embrace it. I don't know what other problems you have had in your life due to your drinking, but it only gets worse... unless you embrace sobriety. I hope you see this as an opportunity to have a life. Your employer didn't host an open bar that morning. You drank so much the night before that they could smell it. They would be prudent to let you go. If you had injured someone at work that day, your employer gets sued, because they have the insurance If you take your sobriety seriously they may even consider rehiring you. I wish you serenity. If you keep drinking you will not.

I am licensed in Washington. I only practice law in this state. I limit my practice, and my answers on this site, to criminal matters in Washington state, and local questions from the courts north of Seattle where I practice. Any advice is provided for informational purposes, and does not form an attorney-client relationship. Any answers provided by lawyers not licensed to practice law in Washington, purporting to answer questions of Washington state law or the practice of the courts of this state, are probably either too general to be helpful, or unethical under Rules of Professional Conduct in this state. Please contact a local, experienced criminal defense lawyer practicing in the community where your question arises.

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