If you offer last-chance agreements instead of immediately firing employees, you can impose seemingly draconian measures without worrying about a lawsuit. If you later terminate an employee for violating agreement terms, most courts will take your side.
Recent case: Robert Tack worked as a pipefitter and was frequently cited for safety violations. Instead of firing him outright, the company offered him a last-chance agreement.
Tack signed the agreement, which said he could be fired for even minor rule violations. Then a supervisor observed him working without safety glasses and fired him.
Tack sued, alleging sex discrimination. The court tossed out the case, reasoning that breaking the last-chance agreement was a legitimate reason for termination. (Tack v. PCC Airfoils, No. 2008-CA-00015, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 2008)
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- Include complainer's actions in sexual harassment investigation
- What's likely to happen when an employee waits two months to charge harassment?
- Beat FMLA suit by showing you would have fired anyway
- Don't stop at religious accommodation; end harassment, too