No policy should be written in a way that ties an employer to a specific set of actions. This is especially true of apolicy. An employer's departure from its own policies can constitute circumstantial evidence of discrimination. However, when a progressive discipline policy permits the employer to exercise discretion in discharging an employee without exhausting all of the policy's steps, failure to follow all of the steps does not suggest a discriminatory motive.
Discretion Saves The Day
A company's discipline policy involved the following steps:
oral warning and informal counseling;
written warning and counseling;
The policy also stated, "[d]epending on the facts and circumstances involved in each situation, (register to read more)may choose to begin disciplinary action at any step." Additionally, "[f]or certain major violations or continued failure to respond to...