Professional Beer Taster Successfully Sues Employer After Becoming An Alcoholic

LTB logo

A judge in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has ruled that a local brewing company must pay damages to one of its former beer tasters, after the taster alleged that his job — drinking alcohol — caused him to develop alcoholism.

In the lawsuit, the employee alleged that as part of his beer-tasting job, he was required to taste beer.  Specifically, he said he typically drank between 16 and 25 small glasses of beer during each eight-hour shift, which works out to a little over three pints a day, at least five days a week, for more than a decade.  (He also said he received a bottle of beer after each shift, so let’s just call it four pints a day.)

Hard to say whether that is really enough to turn someone into an alcoholic, but the judge accepted the employee’s argument that the company did not provide the "health measures needed to keep him from developing alcoholism."  The report did not say what health measures the employee said should have been provided.  The only one I can think of that would work would be to not let him drink on the job, which would sort of put a damper on his career as a beer taster.

Also, the company alleged that the employee was an alcoholic before he ever took the job as a beer taster.  But the judge said the company was still negligent even on those facts, because "an alcoholic should never have been made a beer tester."  So, apparently, if you need a beer taster you should not hire anyone who is an alcoholic, or anyone who is not an alcoholic (because they might become one).  Or, you can hire someone in either category to be a beer taster, as long as you don’t let them drink beer on the job.

The real answer, of course, is that somebody who takes a job as a beer taster should be considered to have assumed the not-unforeseeable risk that drinking all day long every day might turn you into an alcoholic.  But in Brazil, this claim earned the taster just under $50,000.  Not enough to retire on, but that’ll buy a lot of beer.

Link: Yahoo! News