Checking the Record

Not too many years ago, I visited a company plant to prepare for a union grievance arbitration scheduled the next day. Charley, the employee in question, had been fired for insubordination. In addition to the grievance, he had also filed a race discrimination charge over his dismissal. (More often than not, employees use every legal forum available when seeking money from their employer.)

I asked the HR manager, Bill, what happened. Bill explained that Bob, the second-shift superintendent, was having a “toolbox” meeting at the start of his shift. Because the employees were all spread out, he asked them to move closer to him so that he could be heard over the factory noise. Charley, a one-year employee, was the only one who ...

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