You can't fire me, I'm drunk!

LIMA Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:36pm EST

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LIMA (Reuters) - 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?"

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Terry Wade; Editing by Dana Ford)

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