Employee conduct, termination and progressive discipline

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Resource: Avery Foster v. Federal Express Corp., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53779 (E. Dist. Ct. MI)

The issue in the case is whether the company’s employment handbook created an implied contract. Avery Foster was terminated for falsifying an employee timecard. He argued that he was told in his initial interview that he would be guaranteed employment at Federal Express as long as he was a good worker and was protected from “just cause” termination. The court found there was good cause to terminate Avery Foster and that the handbook did not create an implied contract of guaranteed employment.

Progressive discipline is an employee disciplinary process that provides a graduated and measured range of responses to employee performance or conduct issues. Critical thinking consideration: Short of termination, could progressive discipline have been effective in this matter?

Given the circumstances and issues that arose in the Avery Foster case, create the following:

  • Identify the discipline issues to be addressed: attendance, performance, conduct, or a single broad category of non-performance.
  • Determine whether or not the provisions of the policy should permit the company to modify and/or apply the policy in any manner it deems appropriate under the circumstances, including acceleration of steps, exclusion of steps, or repetition of steps.
  • Assess when a supervisor may act independently or needs to seek upper management approval.
  • Explain instructions on when to involve Human Resources.
  • Clarify the role of Human Resources to advise or approve disciplinary action.
  • Determine when a witness should be present.
  • Outline the different sequences and progressive levels of discipline that an employee can receive.
  • Develop rules regarding merit increases in relation to disciplinary action.
  • Write the policy in the third-person in no more than 1,400 words.

    Use headings that appropriately signal the steps and keep your policy organized.

    Use a minimum of three different research resources, and identify all sources in your Reference page.

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