It’s emotionally difficult to terminate someone, especially in this economy. You may be tempted to drag out the process until you’re absolutely sure the employee broke a rule or committed a serious infraction.
Don’t agonize unnecessarily about the decisions you have to make. As long as you act in good faith, you don’t have to be absolutely right about the underlying facts.
What counts is that you took the time to consider the facts, listened to what the employee had to say and really believed your decision was the right one.
Recent case: Jean Scott was fired from her post office job after her supervisor concluded she had been dishonest. Scott had asked for bereavement leave and brought back the funeral service pamphlet to show there really had been a death in her family.
On close examination, it looked as though the pamphlet had been altered to show Scott as a blood relative when in fact the decedent was her ex-husband’s father. Convinced that Scott had altered the pamphlet, the supervisor fired her.
She sued, alleging that she hadn’t made the changes.
But the court said that was irrelevant. What mattered was that her supervisor honestly believed that she had been dishonest. It dismissed Scott’s suit. (Scott v. Potter, No. 3:08-CV-106, WD NC, 2009)
Final note: Of course, you can’t ignore it if the employee offers concrete proof. That would be bad faith.