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  • Progressive Discipline Question...

    An employee is at level 2 in his or her progressive discipline. Level 3 is a final warning and level 4 is termination.

    About a month later, employee receives a letter from employer saying that, after having negotiated with the Union, the employer agreed to lower the progressive discipline down to level 1.

    A few months later, employee gets in trouble twice in the same day. His or her discipline level is noted as level 3 for the first incident, and then termination for the 2nd incident.

    At arbitration, employee argues that he or she relied on the company letter, and that he or she should now be at level 3, instead of termination.

    The company says that it never saw the letter being sent out, but that a secretary signed for the boss, as they often do. Therefore, the company says it did not have to treat the employee as at level 1.

    What law is out there (case law or statutory) which will help the employee? Thanks.

  • #2
    There isn't. The law does not address progressive discipline. It's going to depend entirely on company policy and the CBA.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      There is a CBA, but it doesn't address this issue.

      Essentially, the issue is whether an employer may terminate an employee when the employee thought he or she was at a different level of progressive discipline. The case will be going to arbitration. Does the employee have anything to back him or her up?

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      • #4
        Only if there's a binding company policy that covers this. There are NO laws addressing progressive discipline. There is NO law anywhere in the US that dictates to the employer how they are to handle progressive disicpline issues or at what point in the process the employer may terminate. It is ENTIRELY up to the employer.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          In fact, the opposite is true.

          Progressive discipline can be thrown out the window if the offense is bad enough baring a CBA to the contrary.

          For instance, you wouldn't treat someone coming in late the same way you would treat someone that came into the office and punched their boss in the mouth, right?
          Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

          I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

          Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

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