Restaurant Worker's Drunk Driving Tragedy Makes Drinking at Work Look Too Dangerous

scotchWhen Adam Burnell, an assistant manager and sommelier at the acclaimed South Carolina restaurant Husk, had a few drinks with the staff after a long night at work he was just following tradition. Having a drink with your co-workers after hours is something restaurant workers all over the world do.

But then Burnell got behind the wheel of his car and allegedly crashed it into Quentin Miller's car. Quentin's car then smashed into a concrete wall and burst into flames. He died. Now the restaurant is facing a lawsuit. Is it time for restaurant workers to re-think that after-hours drink?


It doesn't look like Burnell had just a little sip of wine before he left that night. His blood alcohol level was measured at 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit. He's been charged with drunk driving.

Husk is no sleazy dive where you'd expect out-of-control staff members. Bon Appetit just named it the "Best New Restaurant in America" and Newsweek listed it among the "100 Best Places to Eat in the World." I guess tragedy can strike even the best establishments.

So maybe restaurants like Husk shouldn't allow their staff to drink after hours, right? Yeah, that's already a rule. The company that owns the restaurant, Neighborhood Dining Group Inc., forbids staff to drink on the premises at all. But if your assistant manager is breaking that rule, maybe people aren't taking it seriously enough.

I love the idea of the restaurant staff enjoying a few drinks after a night of work, I really do. Those workers certainly earn it. But the consequences in this case make it sound too dangerous! Tradition over a young man's life -- I think the young man's life is more important.

Have you ever had drinks with your coworkers after working your shift at a restaurant?


Image via wsimmons/Flickr




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