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Asleep–or whatever–on the job? It’s safe to terminate

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

It seems elementary that employees should work when they are being paid. But some employees apparently think it is fine to take unauthorized breaks by holing up in an inconspicuous place. You don’t have to put up with it.

Recent case: Janitor Todd Mortensen had a bad back. One day he was caught hiding out in a supply room with the door barricaded. He claimed he needed privacy to do back exercises. His boss believed he actually used the room to nap. The supervisor told Mortensen to tell him when he needed a private place to stretch his back.

A few months later, Mortensen was again caught in the supply room. This time he said he needed a private place to deal with a “hemorrhoid problem.”

He was fired and sued, claiming disability discrimination. The court dismissed the case. (Mortensen v. Hibbing Taconite, No. 09-706, DC MN, 2010)

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