The next time you discipline an employee, consider how his conduct compares to others who broke a similar rule. Then detail the differences if the punishment varies. That way, you can later explain why two employees violating a similar rule deserved different punishments.
Recent case: When Brian broke up with his co-worker Gina, he allegedly threatened her so much that she sought a restraining order against him. He ignored it twice, including once in their employer’s parking lot. Brian was fired under a no-threats-or-violence rule.
He sued, alleging that Gina should also have been fired for bringing a gun to work.
The court dismissed Brian’s lawsuit after learning that Gina brought the gun out of fear for her life, not to engage in violence. The court reasoned the two employees weren’t similarly situated and could be punished differently. (Bond v. City of Bethlehem, No. 11-4291, 3rd Cir., 2012)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Snuff out gossip about firings; don't forward damaging e-mail
- Employee has routine gripe about timekeeping? That's not necessarily protected activity
- When good workers go bad: 'Employee of year' award doesn't give immunity from firing
- 2015 layoffs could be lowest since 2003