As long as you treat all employees equally, courts won’t second-guess your decision to fire someone for violating an anti-violence policy.
Recent case: Venus, who is black, got into a fight with her white domestic partner at work, where they were both employed. Someone witnessed Venus telling her partner she would “knock you the f*** out.” She was fired for violating the company’s rule against threats and violence. Her partner was suspended for her part in the argument.
Venus sued, alleging that she had really been fired in retaliation for making earlier complaints about her own supervisor. Venus said the supervisor had made a pass at her partner, been rejected and then sought to punish Venus for that rejection.
The court didn’t buy it and tossed out her case. (Blackshear v. Interstate Brands, No. 10-3696, 6th Cir., 2012)
- Whistle-blower flagging safety violation? Don't shoot the messenger by retaliating
- Sample Policy: Harassment
- Beware firing ill employee after FMLA expires
- Beware constructive discharge: When work is so intolerable, employee feels he must quit
- Use progressive discipline system to build documentation that justifies termination