Top 7 Tests of Just Cause in Union Contracts
By Robert Hoffman
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This is the follow up to Top 7 Strategies To Use When Disciplining An Employee. An arbitrator will scrutinize all evidence given to him in a case that is presented. Here are the 7 tests of just cause. Before you hand out discipline these are the 7 questions you will have to ask yourself and then answer it is a good idea to have someone else review your case as well before proceeding with discipline. Two heads are always better than one.
Has the employee been warned of the consequences of his actions? Simply put,the employer must have a previously established set of work rules or Code of Business Conduct that has been reviewed with the employee. There should be documentation on file in the employees personnel folder that clearly indicates the date said rules were covered and that the employee was advised of the consequences for failure to comply with those rules.
- Reasonable set of rules.
Was the rule or order given to the employee a reasonable request?
The employer's rules must have relevance to the stated goals of the corporation as well as the employees individual objectives.
You must complete a thorough investigation in an attempt to gather all the facts surrounding the case. This can include everything from interviewing employees, customers, suppliers and any other potential witnesses to documents, photos, and even videotapes made by surveillance systems. The burden of proof is solely on you as the employer.
- Fair Investigation.
Your investigation must be inclusive to the employees rights of representation by the Union. At the same time it must observe the employee's rights under due process.The investigation should be completed in a timely manner and remain objective without rushing to judgement bfore obtaining all the relevant facts. This can be the hardest part. Sometimes you know the person is guilty of the offense and further investigation seems to be a waste of resource. But by neglecting one piece of evidence to substantiate your case you are in jeopardy of losing the case.
- Proof of the offense.
Has your investigation producwed substantial evidence to prove guilt in the employees actions? Your evidence must be substantial enough to support your conclusions of the employees guilt to the particular offense.
Have the rules or orders been handed out evenly and without discrimination? All employees must be operating under the same set of rules or orders. Selective application of the rules will not support your case. You must treat all employees equally in order to apply the rules when administering discipline.
- Issuing Appropriate discipline.
Did the punishment fit the crime.The level of discipline issued must be directly relted to the severity of the violation.Other things must be taken into account as well such as the employees length of service and service record. It is a well accepted fact that the use of progressive discipline be used. This means you should start out with a warning and issue a more severe action each time you issue further discipline.
Robert Hoffman is a Freelance writer and has written several articles and is currently writing a book on Management technique as well as a fiction novel. In the coming weeks there will be a link posted on future articles to his website.
Copyright Robert Hoffman 2006
Article Submitted On: September 16, 2006