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Compare planned discipline with previous incidents

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in HR Management,Human Resources

When it comes to discipline, the key is equitable enforcement. Otherwise, someone might sue, alleging that a protected characteristic played part in the disciplinary decision. Before firing anyone, check to see how similar previous incidents were handled.

Recent case: John, who is black, was a psychiatric aide at a state hospital. A co-worker told management that John stole some milk cartons. No one ever investigated; they just took the co-worker’s word for it. The hospital fired John, but he appealed to the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission, which reinstated him.

John then sued, alleging that white co-workers had faced far more serious charges than allegedly stealing some milk cartons. Those co-workers were suspended for short periods and not fired.

The court said that, based on those allegations, John has enough of a case to go to trial. (Anthony v. Torrance State Hospital, No. 3:16-29. WD PA, 2016)

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