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Discipline / Investigations

New York towns may discipline cops outside terms of union contract


A recent New York Court of Appeals decision gives New York municipalities the right to discipline police officers outside of the collective bargaining framework. The decision stated that the New York State Town Law (known as the Taylor Law) governs police discipline regardless of any existing CBA.

Beware ADA claims if alleged victim isn’t satisfied with harassment investigation


Some sexual harassment complaints don’t pan out. If, after investigating, you conclude that no harassment took place, the employee who complained may not be satisfied. How should you handle her? Your best bet is to address her concerns about having to work around the alleged harasser.

Investigations must be thorough, but not bulletproof to justify discipline

Here’s some good news for those handling discipline and wondering whether your decision will stand up in court: You don’t always have to be exactly right, just fair and honest.

Workplace romance gone bad? Don’t hesitate to terminate if you perceive danger

Not every romance ends happily ever after with a storybook wedding. But with the passage of time, most breakups don’t leave a lingering mess. That’s not necessarily true of workplace romances gone sour, where the former love birds may remain in regular contact with each other.

Track all discipline just in case employee sues

Not every terminated employee sues, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. If you fire someone for breaking a rule, note which one.

Discovered unsuspected wrongdoing? Fire away!

Sometimes, internal investigations pull back the curtain on performance problems that have nothing to do with the original inquiry. Even if it turns out that the initial reason for the investigation was unfounded, you don’t have to ignore other issues you may uncover.

The details matter when documenting discipline

The next time you discipline an em­­ployee, consider how his conduct compares to others who broke a similar rule. Then detail the differences if the punishment varies. That way, you can later explain why two employees violating a similar rule deserved different punishments.

Fire if necessary: Complaining about bias doesn’t earn free pass to terrorize co-workers

Don’t let past discrimination complaints by an obviously troubled employee keep you from ensuring workplace safety. Even vague threats can justify firing a potentially dangerous employee. Few judges will see that as retaliation.

Track all discipline to prove you don’t discriminate when punishing employees


Employee lawsuits that appear out of nowhere often involve some form of alleged discrimination against someone who believes he was disciplined more harshly than other employees. That’s one reason you should routinely track all discipline.

Audit disciplinary records to ensure protected employees aren’t being unfairly punished


Do you know for sure that your supervisors equally punish em­­­­ployees who break the same workplace rules? If not, it’s time to conduct an internal audit. Check disciplinary records against your employees’ protected characteristics.