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Don’t use discipline system to settle old scores

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in Compensation and Benefits,Firing,Human Resources

Do you have a progressive disciplinary system? Don’t short-circuit it!

Recent case: Shelly Giesler, who is white, worked for Ruiz Foods until she was fired for allegedly yelling at a supervisor. That happened just a few days after Giesler had complained about a co-worker assaulting her.

Giesler sued for discrimination.

Ruiz Foods had a progressive disciplinary policy under which Giesler had been reprimanded in the past when her co-workers complained about her. The company said it fired her because of all the prior complaints against her.

But the court ordered a trial. It reasoned that firing her for offenses that had already been the basis of discipline was suspect. Plus, the alleged assailant (who was not white) was not disciplined at all. (Giesler v. Ruiz Food Products, No. 4:08-CV-344, ED TX, 2009)

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