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Tip Tuesday: How to Prepare and Win a Discipline Case

October 15, 2019
Discipline hearings can be a difficult area for employers. While the evidence of an employee's wrongdoing may be strong, if due process and a fair hearing is not provided, the employer is at risk of a claim for wrongful termination.
  • Investigate all the facts. Interview the employee (with a Union representative present, unless waived); talk to all the witnesses; and gather all relevant evidence including documents, videos, time cards, sign-in/out sheets, etc. 
  • Make sure you include evidence that the employee knew (or should have known) the rules, policies or procedures allegedly violated [e. g. – orientation documents, acknowledgement forms when receiving new policies, etc.]
  • Make sure the discipline assessed is consistent with past discipline for similar type of offenses, and includes the employee’s prior discipline history, if any. If prior discipline has been expunged per the contract, don’t consider it in assessing future discipline.
  • Remember, the Company has the burden of proof in discipline arbitration cases. The goal in arbitration is to lead the arbitrator to the rights answer (The Company met the requisite burden of proof).
  • To be successful, you have to make sure that you have gathered all the necessary evidence to prove that the employee is guilty of the alleged infraction, and that the discipline assessed was appropriate (not arbitrary or capricious) under the circumstances.