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The details matter when documenting discipline

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in Firing,Human Resources

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)

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