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Call for back-up! When escorting employee from premises, don’t go it alone

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in Firing,Human Resources

Here’s a bit of practical advice for that rare occasion when you may have to escort an employee off the premises: Make sure to have a second person there to help you.

That way, if the employee later claims something offensive was done or said, you will have a witness. There’s credibility in numbers.

Recent case: Mark worked for a BJs Wholesale store. When he came to work after an apparent evening of drinking, another employee claimed to smell booze on his breath. A supervisor then told him he would have to undergo a drug test and escorted him off the premises to take the test. The results showed a .06 alcohol level and Mark wasn’t allowed back.

Mark later sued and claimed that the supervisor made racially charged comments on the way out, including calling Mark a “thriller gorilla.”

The court refused to dismiss Mark’s lawsuit. (Parker v. BJ’s Wholesale Club, 13-CV-6065, ED NY, 2014)

Final note: It’s essential to have a witness when discharging an employee. You simply don’t know what an employee will later say about what happened behind that closed HR door. While nothing can guarantee a fired employee won’t sue, having a witness to what actually transpired may make it easier to get the case dismissed early in the litigation process.

Plus, some fired employees may become distraught and lash out. That’s less likely to end in threats or violence if two or more company representatives are present.

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