Osfield v. Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise
A supervisor who observes that a worker's face is flushed, his eyes are droopy, he is leaning against the wall, and his clothes have an odor of alcohol, may not possesses reasonable cause to believe that the worker is under the influence of alcohol. A customer allegedly complained to management about the plaintiff employee, Todd Osfield, who worked as a bartender. A supervisor allegedly asked Osfield, in front of customers and other workers, if he would provide an incident report. It is the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court's policy to discuss work-related incidents in private, when possible, and Osfield complained that the manager's request was not made in private. A supervisor suspected that Osfield was under the influence of alcohol, because his face was flushed, his eyes were droopy, he was belligerent and there was a smell of alcohol on his clothes. Another manager observed that Osfield was agitated and irritated. Osfield refused to take a random drug test and was discharged. The Board of Review upheld the discharge. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation permits random drug tests, provided that a supervisor possesses reasonable cause to believe an employee is under the influence. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court found that the employer lacked reasonable cause to request a breathalyzer test. One manager did not observe alcoholic odor, inappropriate levity or other obvious signs of alcohol use. Although the other manager claimed that Osfield was leaning against the wall, had droopy eyes, and his clothing had an odor of alcohol, Osfield had been serving alcohol approximately six-and-one-half hours, and it was late in the evening. Managers did not report that Osfield was stumbling, staggering, falling, slurring or incoherent, or that his eyes were glassy, dilated or bloodshot. It was wrong to assume that Osfield abused alcohol when reasonable, alternative explanations existed. The Board of Review lacked a reasonable basis to conclude Osfield's refusal to submit to an alcohol test violated company policy. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court reinstated Osfield and observed that a manager instigated the incident, because he did not follow the policy to discuss work-related incidents in private, when possible.