Insurance Company, Lloyd’s of London, Bans Employee Drinking

Lloyd's of London Underwriting

While most employers encourage a bit of social drinking among employees, some workers at UK-based insurance company Lloyd’s of London balked at a new ban the company handed down regarding on-duty drinking. The company’s ban is in response to an internal report which found that alcohol was a common factor in nearly half of disciplinary actions.

According to Insurance Business Magazine, this rule does far more than implement warnings: employees found drinking or under the influence of alcohol during work hours could be fired outright. The new policy, which released to employees through an internal memo and later leaked to the media, was not taken well by Lloyd’s employees.

Insurance Business Magazine reports that employees posted scathing criticism of the policy on an internal intranet forum, including one disaffected worker who stated, “Did I just wake up from my drunken drug induced slumber to find we are now living in Orwell’s 1984?”

While some acknowledge that a daytime drinking culture is not uncommon in the London Market, Lloyd’s of London’s new policy is fitting given the situation. Employers may carry significant risks through employee misconduct, including harassment, property damage, and personal injuries.

As an insurance company, it is Lloyd’s of London appears to have taken actions that it would have likely recommended its own clients take to help mitigate such risks, although U.S. businesses may more commonly be encouraged to consider insurance policies that cover employee injury on-the-job.

Workplace injuries can be more or less common, depending on the industry, while harassment remains a common complaint in the workplace, especially among women. A 2015 Huffington Post article noted that 1 in 3 women have reported experiencing sexual harassment in the office, while a former employee for ridesharing company Uber left a scathing rebuke about sexual harassment and other forms mistreatment at the tech giant.

Considering the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Committee data shows an increase of filings of all types of issues the EEOC covers, employers may likely want to consider insurance policies such as Employment Practices Liability Insurance to cover issues of harassment. Additional issues that might be directly connected to physical injury of employees on-duty can be mitigated through the purchase of Workers Compensation.