Employers that can show they fired an employee for violating a company policy will generally win any subsequent lawsuit—if they can show they reasonably believed that’s what happened. It doesn’t matter if later it turns out the employer was wrong.
Recent case: Tomorrow Hudson claimed she was fired on account of her race after she complained about a hostile work environment. Her former employer said it fired her because it believed Hudson had recorded a conversation with. Company rules clearly prohibited taping conversations.
Hudson insisted she had merely taken good notes.
But the court said it was irrelevant whether she actually recorded the conversation or took notes. What mattered was the employer’s reasonable belief that she had done so, based on her almost verbatim retelling and her co-workers’ comments that she had threatened to record the conversation. (Hudson v. Blue Cross, No. 11-10096, 11th Cir., 2011)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- HR's goal should not be to make employees happy
- Use progressive discipline system to build documentation that justifies termination
- Vague disability isn't an excuse for special treatment
- U of M study: Female managers more likely to be harassed