Administrative Leave Pending Investigation Started by trr543s8 , Jan 30 2014 12:05 PM Please log in to reply 4 replies to this topic 2 posts Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:05 PM I have worked for a large hotel chain for over 6 years with a great track record and above average performance and results that exceed the company's expectations. I am located in Illinois and have never been on any such leave before.
The issue under investigation stems from an incident that occurred after our sponsored holiday party. The company issued "2 drink tickets" but at no point enforced them for any of the 200 guests and staff. Knowing my own limits, I consumed only wine, and kept consumption at a reasonable pace of just over 1 glass of wine per hour. Total consumption was 6 glasses over a 5 hour period, and I was also considerate to consume heavy food that was provided at the beginning of the party, in the middle, and at the end. At no point in time did I feel over served or foggy from too much consumption. I was able to write a recount of all of my interactions, what I ate and drank and when, who I talked to, when and where we talked, what we talked about, etc. through the end of the party.
At that point, I had a full loss of memory for about 4 hours and cannot recall a single detail. I was able to pinpoint specific time references from time stamps on text messages, car service pickup and travel duration, along with the time I arrived home, disarmed my alarm system, put everything away like normal, and reset my alarm system. I could also note the time I woke up the next day, and felt rested with no shred of a hangover or groggy lack of energy that you would normally feel after a heavy night of drinking.
So the investigation is into an incident where I was found in my office, "passed out", and without any pants on but only my shirt. The details don't even fit my normal character or how I would even behave at home, let alone at my office. I have always been very loyal to my company and am even in the stages of transitioning into a new role within the company. So my ambitions are very high to grow my career for me to throw them all away on something so ridiculous and humiliating.
My company is trying to blame the incident on drinking too much. I also considered a possible interaction with an ADHD prescription that I have been on for a year from my psychiatrist (who I see monthly). I've never had any reaction remotely similar, and there are no warnings from the documents submitted to the FDA or even from the pharmaceutical manufacturer's published information.
We have been very short staffed, and stress and long hours have been very high for the past 6 weeks. In researching any and all possibilities as to what could have caused this memory loss, I found several studies by the Mayo Clinic as well as listed on WebMD about the effects of stress, anxiety, and fatigue on the body, and in many cases contribute to a condition called Transient Global Amnesia. My gut tells me that there is more to the store from a psychological perspective, and not from the often assumed "too much to drink and having a black out."
What are the chances that I could be fired for this? I'm worried that during this investigation, little consideration will be given to the fact that the company did not follow their own due diligence of enforcing the 2 drink tickets per guest, or that the actual work environment over the past 6 weeks could have led to a psychological trigger that could have sent my body into auto-pilot and left me with no memory for roughly 4 hours.
Is there anything I can do to protect myself in the event that they do decide to terminate employment? This will ruin my career and the upcoming opportunity to grow into another area of the company. Do I have any legal bearing to hold them responsible for lack of due diligence for not enforcing their 2 drink tickets if they do try to pin this on alcohol consumption? They are not targeting anyone else for this since no one else clearly had passed out with no pants on in their office.
I understand the facts and that my employer must investigate any such claim. They even have a photo taken of me from a security cell phone, which I felt was actually a violation of my own privacy and wasn't sure if that was even legal.
Any thoughts, advice, or insight you could offer are greatly appreciated! I just want to protect myself and know what options I potentially have, should I need them. Thank you! 2 posts Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:50 PM Please let me clarify, I certainly am not trying to rationalize trying to drink in excess. I've definitely been there before and know the feeling, the scattered memories, and the horrific hangover the next day! Non-work related instances might I add.
This all was very different. I had very clear and vivid memories all night. It wasn't a gradual process of memories to fogginess to blacking out. It was much more cut and dry. Vivid clear recollection then almost an instant total loss.
The consumption would even still fall under legal drinking limits of .05 BAC. I was not driving though?.I don't own a car and Workers Compensation Directory took a sedan service home.
I just want more clarification as to whether my employer could have shared liability for not following their own beverage liability, and even more, if there is a good chance that stress, anxiety, and exhaustion could have been a greater factor unto the outcome. The clinical studies I found from the Mayo Clinic actually fit the details more than anything else. My director even mentioned the possibility of someone slipping something into my drink toward the end of the night, but I discounted that since everything I've read says you always wake up with a massive hangover. And that was not the case for me. I woke up early, fully rested, with no small shred of a headache of post morning mental fog. 16,576 posts Posted 30 January 2014 - 09:23 PM I just want more clarification as to whether my employer could have shared liability for not following their own beverage liability, and even more, if there is a good chance that stress, anxiety, and exhaustion could have been a greater factor unto the outcome.
This is not a matter of ?liability.? You evidently didn?t injure anyone or damage any property during this episode. So there is no liability to share here.
You got tickets for ?two drinks.? That doesn't immediately strike me as meaning that you were limited to drinking just two drinks, but rather that you were able to get two drinks free. If the employer decided to give you more free drinks it could do that. Even if it was meant to be a policy of limiting everyone to two drinks total, the employer may disregard that policy, too unless that policy was mandated by some state law. Nothing in the law says employers have to stick to the policies that they make. Trying to argue that if the problem was due to drinking that the employer should not fire you because it let you drink all that wine isn?t really a winner. It?s certainly not unreasonable for an employer to expect that the employees would drink responsibly, after all.
Your attempt to tie this to temporary global amnesia (TGA) seems a difficult route to take. The only way to diagnose it is during the episode itself and largely comes down to ruling out all other possible causes for the problem. It is also a rare phenomena. Here, since alcohol provides another possible (and much more common) explanation for the problem, you might have a hard time making a convincing case that this was due to TGA. Even if it was a TGA event, that won?t typically qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so the company likely may fire you even if you could convince them TGA was the cause.
The literature I read on TGA doesn't suggest, by the way, that persons experiencing it do bizzarre things like take off most of their clothes at the office. They are fully functioning during the event, with the only problem being that they cannot remember anything that occurred prior to a moment or two immediately before the present moment. This causes great anxiety because the person is aware of things and functions fine but just cannot remember anything and that problem persists for awhile. Naturally, that feeling of not being able to remember anything and having that last for 2-8 hours would be very distressing. The affected persons end up appearing to others as confused and they tend to repeat the same thing over and over since they cannot remember having just done it.
It may be impossible to pin point what it was that caused you to have this problem. But in the end, it may not matter much since your employer may fire you for any reason at all except for a few reasons prohibited by law, such as firing you because: of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic test information under federal law (some states/localities add a few more categories like sexual orientation); you make certain kinds of reports about the employer to the government or in limited circumstances to specified persons in the employing company itself (known as whistle-blower protection laws); you participate in union organizing activities; you use a right or benefit the law guarantees you (e.g. using leave under FMLA); you filed a bankruptcy petition; your pay was garnished by a single creditor; and you took time off work to attend jury duty (in most states). If you are fired or face other adverse consequences, you might want to consult an employment law attorney about any possible recourse. Just from what you described here, it sounds like a long shot, but without all the facts I cannot rule out that there might be something you could pursue. Most attorneys will give you a free initial consultation, so it wouldn?t hurt to get an opinion and make sure of where you stand. 30 posts Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:00 AM Sorry but your employer holds no liability for you violating their policy and acting the fool at the holiday party. They set the policy of a 2 drink limit and it is entirely reasonable to expect employees to follow that policy. Further, blaming the employer for your bad behavior is not going to help your cause and very well could have the opposite effect. Even if you can prove that a medical condition caused your behavior, it isn't going to save you as ADA does not require employers to overlook obviously unacceptable conduct. Undressing at the holiday party would definitely qualify. <br>For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://boards.answers.findlaw.com/index.php/topic/229082-administrative-leave-pending-investigation/