Lloyd’s of London to ban boozy brokers from its building

The 331-year-old insurance institution, Lloyd’s of London, has introduced a new code of conduct to address claims that its boozy culture is causing general boorish behaviour and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Lloyd’s already has in place a ban on its 800 or so staff from drinking alcohol between the hours of 9am and 5pm. However, it is estimated that nearly 40,000 people have access to its London headquarters, and from now on, if anyone is considered to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs within that building, they will be banned from entering.

Other changes include a bullying and harassment hotline for victims of bad behaviour so that they can report abuse and Lloyds’s on-site bar will become a coffee shop instead. These measures are part of a bigger plan to change the culture at Lloyds’s and reduce the incidents of sexual and verbal misconduct fuelled by heavy drinking.  

Some employers take quite a lenient approach to alcohol consumption during the normal working day and at lunchtime and have a fairly laid-back policy to reflect that attitude. However, Lloyd’s have decided to adopt a completely zero tolerance attitude towards their employees and anyone else entering their building being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

When considering best practice, employers should:

  1. Have in place a written alcohol and drugs at work policy setting out their approach to drinking during the normal working day and at lunchtime, and apply this policy consistently.  

  2. Make sure their employees are aware of its alcohol and drugs at work policy and that breaching it will result in disciplinary action being taken against them.

  3. When considering whether the disciplinary action may result in dismissal, employers should think about whether it would be reasonable to dismiss the employee in question on those circumstances. Factors to consider could include the nature of the industry, the type of work involved, the employer’s alcohol and drugs at work policy, and the level of intoxication of the employee.