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 →
On February 28, 2014, a Massachusetts court ruled that an employee handbook, when properly written, was not a contract between the employer and employee. The case, Metelus v. Wingate Healthcare, Inc., is a positive decision for employers and supports the use of well-crafted employee handbooks.
What You Need To Know. Employee handbooks are helpful tools to establish workplace rules and expectations. As long as your handbook uses discretionary language and includes employer flexibility to address each situation as appropriate to the facts, your handbook should not be considered a binding contract.
In the Metelus case, a nursing home was sued for discrimination and breach of contract by three former nursing assistants who were terminated for refusing to follow orders and for poor patient care. 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.