Lack of Disciplinary Record Does Not Negate Justification for Termination

In another case we recently wrote about, Tatum v. Southern Company Services, Inc., 950 F. 3d 709 (5th Cir. 2019), the employer prevailed because of the employee’s past disciplinary record and company policy. While documentation helps in wrongful termination claims, it isn’t always required as we discovered in another case, Graham v. Arctic Zone Iceplex LLC, 930 F. 3d 926 (7th Cir. 2019). In this case, the employer had previously allowed bad behavior to slide before terminating an employee for a poor attitude, bad behavior, and causing property damage. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, however, “found that the employer had an honest belief in the reasons it offered for his termination,” proof a lack of discipline doesn’t always come back to bite an employer. No one wants to discipline employees, however, employers who call out poor behavior and keep documentation of discipline measures have a much stronger case in court should it come to that.

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