• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Employers don’t have to be right–just honest

by on
in Firing,HR Management,Human Resources

Here’s something to remember the next time you agonize over discharging an employee for breaking a rule: While you should treat all employees honestly, you don’t have to conduct a mini trial to determine “guilt.” It’s enough to believe you had a legitimate reason to fire the employee—even if it later turns out you were wrong.

Recent case: Chinnecole Lee, who is black, worked in loss prevention at a Kmart store. The company has a policy that prohibits workplace violence, and employees know breaking the rule means possible termination. Loss-prevention personnel are also told they may not touch shoplifting suspects unless must they do so in self-defense.

Lee witnessed a white woman placing merchandise in her coat and confronted her and her friend. The woman emptied her pockets and said she didn’t want the merchandise. Then the woman’s friend began screaming at Lee, using racial slurs. Lee slapped the friend in the face and called the police.

Lee explained to her supervisor what had happened but never mentioned having felt threatened. Lee assumed that nothing more would come of the incident. But the HR office concluded that she had violated the no-violence rule and wasn’t otherwise justified in hitting the suspected shoplifter’s friend. Lee was fired.

She sued, alleging race discrimination. Lee argued that the HR office had been wrong and that she had slapped the friend only because she felt threatened. Under those circumstances, she argued, she didn’t violate either rule.

The court said what really happened didn’t matter as long as HR honestly believed that Lee broke one of the rules. It didn’t have to reconsider its decision after the fact when Lee provided additional information. (Lee v. K-Mart Corporation, No. 10-3892, DC MN, 2011)

Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!

Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...

We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.

The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.

" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/29665/employers-dont-have-to-be-right-just-honest "

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Milton March 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Why does the race of the people involved have to be put in the story? It has absolutely NO relevance on what took place. Get a clue……..

Reply

Leave a Comment