A reinterpreted article in Colombia’s Labor Code was recently approved by the country’s Constitutional Court, thus allowing people to show up for work drunk or under the influence of narcotics as long as their productivity is not affected.
As in most countries around the world, going to work under the influence of alcohol or narcotics was prohibited in Colombia, but the modified article now protects workers from contract termination or disciplinary action, as long as these substances don’t affect their performance on the job. The recent ruling on the Constitutional Court puts alcohol consumption and narcotic addiction at the same level as occupational illness and argues that “these substances don’t always hinder how one performs at work”.
The controversial ruling was criticized by many in Colombia, especially drug abuse prevention organizations. Augusto Pérez, therapist and head of Nuevos Rumbos (New Paths), a non-profit organization dedicated to the research and prevention of drug use, said that the decision of the Constitutional Court will have “negative consequences on Colombian society”. He added that the new law is dangerous for the workers themselves, sets a dangerous precedent and allows people to do whatever they like without fearing consequences.