Repeated false complaints? That’s grounds for firing

You know that employee who always seems to be filing meritless discrimination or harassment complaints? You can and should discipline that guy.

Advice: Clearly explain that you welcome legitimate reports, but won’t tolerate false ones.

Recent case: Carlos, a custodian, developed a reputation as someone who was hard to get along with. Performance reviews consistently cited him for being uncooperative.

He filed numerous internal complaints alleging that co-workers were stalking or harassing him. The employer always investigated, concluding each time that Carlos was either in the wrong or gave misleading statements about what had happened.

Finally, Carlos was warned: “While we do not want to discourage you or, for that matter, any other employee from reporting legitimate concerns to management or to Human Resources, we will not tolerate repeated unsubstantiated complaints from you or any other employee.” It didn’t work.

Carlos was fired after another unfounded complaint. He sued, alleging the employer had forbidden him from filing EEOC or other complaints.

The court tossed out his case, concluding that the employer was within its rights to discipline workers for false or misleading complaints. (Soriano v. Capital Blue Cross, No. 1:13-CV-01333, MD PA, 2016)