There are four keys to dealing with this type of serious offense:

1.  Interview all witnesses to the incident. Who started what is important, especially if penalties are set at different levels.

2.  Suspend both parties while you investigate the situation, with reinstatement pending the investigation results.

3.  Do not telephone either employee with the results of your investigation. Bring them back to the work site for confidential discussion and action.

4.  If different penalties are handed out, be sure you have solid reasons for them and cannot be accused of inconsistency of application.

Normally, discharge is upheld on a first-time basis in cases of fighting and other violent acts. Be sure you have all ...

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