Within the workplace, discipline is generally a form of ‘punishment’ that an employer imposes on its employee when he or she violates a rule or has engaged in what the employer feels is inappropriate, harmful, or dangerous conduct in the workplace. If an employer has a disciplinary policy different from the discipline it actually carries out, the result may be a wrongful termination.
Some key questions:
Is there a policy regarding discipline and discharge? Is it in writing? Is it distributed to employees? Is it adhered to in a uniform manner? Sometimes, an employer’s decision not to adhere to its own disciplinary policy is evidence that its reason for disciplining an employee is pretextual and may result in a wrongful termination. It may also violate one or more laws.
What are the consequences for disciplining one more harshly than another for doing the same thing?
Is the timing of the discipline suspicious? Timing can be everything.
Is any finding that misconduct occurred evidenced by an investigation that would be considered impartial? Did the investigation follow the employer’s normal procedures?
What are the benefits and drawbacks of documenting instances of misconduct or incompetence?
Reductions-in-force, reorganizations, restructurings, mergers, disciplinary actions, and employment terminations can be difficult events to navigate. We regularly work closely with clients to handle plans, actions, or problems arising from or relating to workforce reductions, disciplinary actions, and employment terminations. Different circumstances require different strategies. We utilize various resources and contacts customizing a multilateral approach to the client’s individual needs in order to achieve the desired objective. We regularly advise and counsel clients of their rights, and successfully negotiate settlements and resolutions of disputes and, when possible, without the involvement of courts and litigation.
For example, we routinely negotiate, draft, and enforce settlements, severance, and separation and release agreements that comply with the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) and other applicable statutes. In addition, we handle administrative charges and wrongful termination lawsuits, including class or collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Sarbanes-Oxley, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title VII, USERRA, and other state and federal laws applicable to the termination of employment. We have intimate knowledge of compliance requirements relating to discipline and discharge actions, other termination events, as well as the experience and knowledge of the most effective solutions.
The legal landscape is a hodge-podge of federal, state, and local laws with concomitant rules and regulations governed by inconsistent and contradictory court decisions. This patchwork quilt of laws and regulations is always changing as the courts re-define the parameters and reach of laws in our fast-moving and even faster-changing society. At Gilbert Law Group, we are committed to providing prompt, practical, and cost-efficient counsel and advice.
At Gilbert Law Group, we develop unique strategies based on a multilateral approach with the single goal of achieving a positive result for our clients. Our success is evidenced by a proven track record spanning more than three decades.
CONTACT Gilbert Law Group today: 631.630.0100.