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Second chances, patience make discharge decision stick

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Courts often reward employers for offering second chances to employees who might otherwise be fired.

Recent case: Gynell, a laborer with the Syracuse Street Cleaning Bureau, was frequently disciplined for various infractions, including tardiness, failing to report for work, fighting and threatening co-workers. He was once fired for being belligerent, but was later reinstated as a last chance.

Then police picked him up on allegations he had tried to turn in city scrap materials for recycling when he wasn’t permitted to take the scrap. When he was again terminated, he sued, alleging race discrimination.

The court dismissed his case, reasoning that the bureau had a legitimate reason for firing Gynell based on his disciplinary history and the nature of his last offense. He didn’t have enough facts to counter the employer’s legitimate reason. (Wright v. City of Syracuse, et al., No. 14-1635, 2nd Cir., 2015)

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