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Don’t tolerate threats and angry behavior

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in Firing,Human Resources

Not everyone will get along in the workplace. Interpersonal relationships can be difficult just because of personality differences. Put simply, some people don’t like each other—and their behavior at work may make that dislike very clear.

Sometimes, relationships deteriorate beyond repair. That’s especially true if an employee resorts to angry outbursts or even threats. That’s when it’s time to act.

You don’t have to put up with such behavior. Terminate the em­­ployee who made the threats. You can do so without fear that you will lose a lawsuit over the move.

Recent case: Jamee, who is black, was hired first as an HR assistant and then placed in a new position as a receptionist after the company eliminated some jobs. She kept earning the same amount she did before.

At first, she got along with her new supervisor even though she frequently criticized Jamee’s performance, especially regarding attendance and absenteeism.

Then a new supervisor arrived on the scene. The two did not get along from day one. The new boss was more demanding than Jamee had come to expect and he constantly criticized the way she did her job and her attendance.

Finally, perhaps frustrated, Jamee allegedly declared that she wanted to cut her boss’ tires and do him harm and that she didn’t care if she went to jail. A co-worker reported the threat and Jamee was terminated.

She sued, alleging race discrimination.

The court tossed out the case, reasoning that the company had investigated a co-worker’s report, concluded that it believed the co-worker and then followed its existing rules against threats by firing Jamee. It had every right to do so under the circumstances. (Rodriguez v. Cooper Cameron, No. H-12-0764, SD TX, 2014)

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