Can You Fire Violent Workers Even if Criminal Charges are Dropped or if You Were Wrong?
Well, as long as you have an honest belief that the worker broke company conduct rules you can - even if you are wrong.
In a 2014 case, LaShaunda McDaniel, a U.S. Postal Service custodian, was romantically involved with a co-worker. When the co-worker broke it off, LaShaunda became upset. The two argued in the parking lot and continued their argument down the road.
According to the police, LaShaunda physically assaulted the co-worker and spat on his car. She then sent him text messages suggesting she was going to kill him. She was arrested. When her boss found out, LaShaunda was fired.
Eventually, charges were dropped. LaShaunda sued and argued her co-worker should have been fired, too.
But the court said it didn’t matter that she wasn’t prosecuted or that the co-worker might have played more than the innocent victim. What mattered was that the supervisor honestly believed LaShaunda had violated workplace rules against threats and violence. (McDaniel v. Donahoe, No. 12-CV-054944, ED CA, 2014)
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