On February 28, 2014, a Massachusetts court dismissed a discrimination claim brought by three employees against a nursing home base in part on the employer’s detailed investigation and written record of discipline. The case Metelus v. Wingate Healthcare, Inc., demonstrates the importance of thorough and well documented investigations and discipline.
What You Need To Know. When faced with a discrimination claim, employers need evidence showing how employees were treated fairly and consistently. A thorough investigation into employee misconduct and well documented disciplinary warnings will help significantly if a court has to review a termination.
In the Metelus case, three nursing assistants were terminated for refusing a supervisor’s request that they work on another floor to meet patient demand. The nursing assistants threatened to walk off the job if ordered to change floors. Instead of disciplining the three employees on the spot, Wingate’s Nursing Director promptly conducted a thorough investigation. Continue reading →
The Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a ruling on October 18, 2013. that an employee could not collect worker’s compensation for a stress injury arising from a workplace investigation. The case, Upton’s Case, is discussed below.
What You Need To Know. Done correctly, an investigation into employee misconduct that causes an employee to leave work with a stress related injury will not support a workers’ compensation claim. However, a poorly handled or abusive investigation, could be the basis for a claim. So, before beginning an investigation into employee misconduct, you should review the matter with counsel to ensure your plan and methods are acceptable.
On October 7, 2013, the United States District Court in Massachusetts issued a ruling discussing the potential problems associated with hiring your defense lawyer to perform investigations into employee misconduct. The case of Koss v. Palmer Water Departmentis discussed below.
What You Need To Know. If you want to conduct an investigation into employee misconduct. You need to bring in an independent investigator as opposed to your regular defense counsel. Because the investigator could be called as a witness at a subsequent trial and ordered to turn over all his or her work papers, you don’t want your defense lawyer conducting the investigation, testifying as a witness, and being barred from representing you.
The Palmer Water Department received a sexual harassment complaint brought by one of its employees. If that happened to you, what to do? Continue reading →