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Be prepared to explain deviation from rules

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Your own rules can be used against you if you don’t follow them.

Recent case: James delivered medical equipment. His supervisors received four calls complaining about erratic driving. They told him he would be fired after another complaint.

Then, right before James took FMLA leave, a patient complained that he had been rude. On James’ first day back, yet another patient complained about rudeness. Ignoring its usual policy to obtain the employee’s side of the story before imposing discipline, the company fired James.

He sued, alleging retaliation for taking FMLA leave and citing the employer’s deviation from its usual rule as proof. But the employer noted that James already knew he was down to one complaint and argued that the supervisor didn’t need to hear James’ side, given the previous customer complaints. The court agreed. (Clarke v. Northwest Respiratory, Minnesota Court of Appeals, 2017)

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