The Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared,” applies to employers, too. You simply never know when—or why—a fired employee will sue. But you don’t have much to worry about if you have processes in place to make sure each and every disciplinary decision is fair and rational.
Recent case: Thomas Bicha sued his former employer when he was terminated, claiming he was targeted for retaliation because he blew the whistle on illegal activities at the company. Bicha said he reported that employees were exposed to excess smoke from molten metals used in a manufacturing process.
But the employer was ready to prove it had fired Bicha for violating attendance policies and habitual tardiness. The Court of Appeals of Minnesota refused to reinstate his lawsuit based on the employer’s records. (Bicha v. Water Gremlin, No. A07-1615, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, 2008)
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- How should we handle a termination when both the FMLA and short-term disability are in play?
- The best reason to retain personnel documents: Employees--and courts--have long memories