You can’t fire me, I’m drunk!
LIMA – Peru’s top court has ruled that workers cannot be fired for being drunk on the job, a decision that was criticized by the government on Wednesday for setting a dangerous precedent.
The Constitutional Tribunal ordered that Pablo Cayo be given his job back as a janitor for the municipality of Chorrillos, which fired him for being intoxicated at work.
The firing was excessive because even though Cayo was drunk, he did not offend or hurt anybody, Fernando Calle, one of the justices, said on Wednesday.
Calle said the court would not revise its decision, despite complaints from the government.
“It’s not a good idea to relax rules at workplaces,” said Labor Minister Jorge Villasante.
Celso Becerra, the administrative chief of Chorrillos, a suburb of Lima, denounced the ruling.
“We’ve fired four workers for showing up drunk, and two of them were drivers,” he said. “How can we allow a drunk to work who might run somebody over?”
Ah, Peru. Where they eat guinea pigs, drink fermented corn, and promote the rights of working alcoholics with a cheerful laissez faire attitude toward the consequences.
Now before you go and get all carried away with plans to move to Peru, start guzzling chicha and drinking yourself blind while simultaneously earning income as the friendly, plastered, local janitor…there are several critical considerations:
l Do you have what it takes to drink all day, every day?
l Think about the last time you were on vacation. Did slugging back Mai Tais by the pool for six hours send you into a fast and semi-unconscious slumber? Or were you still able to put back three bottles of wine and a six-pack before hotel security got involved?
l Do you regularly get cut off after the fourth or fifth martini or are there bars all over town where you’re running a four-digit tab?
l Have your family and friends performed at least three (failed) interventions on you?
l Is there a suite named after you at Promises?
l Are there any photos where you look like this?
Provided you passed the above evaluation with flying colors, it’s at this point you really need to evaluate what kind of drunk you are.
l Emotional wreck - If your nicknames are Town Crier, Don’t Cry for me Argentina, and Water Works or if two Cosmos have you bawling like Kate Winslet at the Golden Globes, Peruvian janitor could be a good match. At least that’s what your few remaining friends said. And it would help if you don’t speak any Spanish. Check into the employee benefits for mental health care while you’re at it.
l Silly drunk – If you look better with a lampshade on your head and everything seems a whole lot funnier after three vodka tonics, then taking out the trash while drunk should be a HOOT. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest international airport.
l Mean drunk – You know who you are. Cuts, bruises, broken bones…and you should see the other guy! Remember, what got Pablo Cayo his job back is that he didn’t offend or HURT anybody. Should you really be in possession of a broom handle while intoxicated?
l Slutty drunk – Broom closet + any available warm body = HELL-O new janitor!!!
l Sleepy drunk – Not to invoke any cultural stereotypes or offend anyone or anything, but you should fit right in! I think you’re a natural Peruvian janitor. Remember, they don’t call it a siesta for nothing.
l Stupid drunk – Stupid like you can’t remember the name of the town you grew up in or stupid like you rob a liquor store and then try to exit through the miniature bathroom window? Assess your limits, remember you will be working with toxic chemicals, and make the career choice that’s least likely to result in your winning a Darwin Award.
l Unconscious drunk – This is probably more of a ‘step two’ than a natural inclination. If your drinking tends to end when you come to three days later in a dumpster with a fresh raccoon tail in your hair and a tattoo that says “ Monica can eat cheese”, Peruvian janitor may be too labor intensive. Consider positions like Plasma Donor, Gonzo Journalist, or Michael Dukakis’ wife instead.
Buen suerte and buen trabajo!