We all make mistakes, especially when acting in haste. Unfortunately, a mistake in the employment law world can mean an expensive lawsuit. But courts are inclined to forgive employers that genuinely try to make things right.
That’s why employers should fix errors and make sure they remove any potential negative effects of disciplinary actions.
Recent case: The U.S. Postal Service suspended employee Nolan Corpening for 21 days. However, after the post office investigated, it quickly determined that it should not have taken the action.
Postal officials acted fast to correct the mistakes and remove the incidents from Corpening’s personnel file. He sued anyway, alleging race and disability discrimination. The court tossed out his case, saying the post office had done all it could to remedy the situation without court interference. (Corpening v. Potter, No. 3:06-CV-176, WD NC)
Final note: If someone charges serious sexual harassment or assault, prudence requires removing the alleged harasser from the workplace before the investigation even begins. Similarly, some health and safety issues might call for sending an employee home first and asking questions later. If the problem turns out to have been unfounded, bring the accused employee back as soon as possible and wipe the slate clean.