How much employee negligence warrants discharge?

The ultimate employee discipline is termination. Under what circumstances is it justified? Dishonesty, certainly. Violence resulting in damage to person or property, assuredly. Sexual malfeasance, decidedly.

03/01/1998


The ultimate employee discipline is termination. Under what circumstances is it justified? Dishonesty, certainly. Violence resulting in damage to person or property, assuredly. Sexual malfeasance, decidedly.

What about negligence? In most cases dismissal would be too harsh a penalty. But each situation must be decided on its own merits.

Instrument Repairman Perry Shea was a marginal employee at best. Ill tempered, a heavy drinker. Macho. Maintenance department employees were encouraged to seek help in lifting an object too heavy or cumbersome for one person to handle.

Shea couldn't be bothered. He had muscle to spare. On one occasion, he picked up and dropped a heavy instrument, causing $560 damage. Maintenance Foreman Pete Schiffo instructed him in writing to ask for help in lifting or transporting heavy items in the future. A copy of the memo was placed in his personnel file. When it recurred 3-mo later, he was issued an official warning, which again became part of the record.

More recently, wrestling with a 65-lb piece of equipment, Shea, who had been drinking, tripped while trying to maneuver it through a doorway. The damage was estimated at $1300. Schiffo's response was short and simple. "That does it, Shea. You're fired."

Shea protested the action. "Dismissal is too harsh. Anyone can have an accident."

When Schiffo brushed aside his protest, Shea threatened to sue.

Question : If Shea follows through, how do you rate his chances of winning?

Krautkamer's verdict: When informed of the incident, Plant Engineer Edward Krautkamer's support of the decision was swift and decisive. "To sustain dismissal for carelessness or negligence, evidence of such negligence must be strong. Management must be ready to prove that the employee displayed an almost willful disregard of correct procedures with little, if any, regard for the consequences. It would be hard to argue that Shea doesn't fill the bill in this case."

And with that, Schiffo trotted off to deliver the message to Shea.





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Big Data and IIoT value; Monitoring Big Data; Robotics safety standards and programming; Learning about PID
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
Selecting the best controller from several viewpoints; System integrator advice for the IIoT; TSN and real-time Ethernet; Questions to ask when selecting a VFD; Action items for an aging PLC/DCS
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me