There is a difference between drinking and being drunk at work. If your former employer fired you because you were drinking, you will be able to defend yourself at your unemployment hearing. If you didn’t drink anything, how did the charge come about? Is it because of a cough medicine that you took last night? Sometimes the cough medicines have some alcohol in them that could be present on your breath the morning after you take it. If you did drink something before work or during your work time, you must make sure you tell your interviewer that you didn’t know drinking during work was not allowed. Explain that you went to lunch and had a drink with your lunch. That you were thirsty and grabbed a drink because you knew it went well with your lunch. This is especially true if you work 2nd shift when your lunchtime is actually your dinner time. Explain that you have done this in the past and even joked with your supervisor about it. The interviewer will wonder why this particular time it became a problem versus the other times before. Were you able to complete most of your job tasks that day? Were you able to drive to work that day or did you carpool? The answers to these questions will help you establish that you were not impaired.
Your former employer could possibly believe based on your behavior that you were under the influence of drugs. You may have not felt well that day and taken over the counter cold medicine which can make you groggy. You may have not slept well and taken sleep medication that hasn’t worn off. If your employer didn’t make you take a drug or alcohol test, the burden of proof will fall back on them to prove that you were under the influence. If they didn’t send you for a test, you may wonder why they didn’t if they allege that this is the reason why you were terminated. Tell them that you would have submitted to a test if you would have been asked to do so to prove your innocence. Make sure that you get this point across to Unemployment Personnel.