“If I could sum up why I’m committed to the HR Girlfriends community it would come down to because we are ‘….in this together.'”

~Sana’ Rasul, Chief Girlfriend

Q&A: A longtime good employee was caught forging his timesheet. We have terminated others for this policy violation in the past. Do I have to terminate this employee as well? His work has always otherwise been excellent, and I don’t want to lose him.

The most risk-averse approach would be to terminate this employee as well. Any time you deviate from consistent disciplinary practices – in this case terminating for forging time sheets – you open your organization up to greater risk of discrimination claims. This employee would no doubt appreciate not losing his job. But former and future employees terminated for this same offense could claim that their termination was discriminatory – that it was based on a protected class or protected activity. Responding to a discrimination claim can be costly, even if you eventually win.

A more risk-tolerant approach would be to document how this situation is different from the others that resulted in termination. For example, this employee may have had consistently good performance while the other dismissed employees did not. If you decide to give this employee a second chance, it’s important to communicate just how serious forging time sheets is and what will happen if he does it again. Document your conversation.

Another risk-tolerant approach would be to change your disciplinary practices. This could entail giving a written warning for the first policy violation and then terminating for the second. If you decide to change your policy or practices around discipline and termination, make sure the changes are documented, clearly communicated to employees, and consistently applied moving forward.

Ultimately, nothing you do can guarantee that an employee won’t call a lawyer, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or some other government agency and claim that their discipline or termination was for an illegal reason. That said, you can take steps to reduce risk. Clear, consistently enforced policies and practices are your best line of defense.

Answer from Kelley, PHR:
Kelley has experience in human resources focused in Payroll and Benefits Administration and Employee Relations for small businesses. She graduated from Columbia Southern University with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Human Resources. In her free time, Kelley enjoys physical fitness, traveling to new places and spending time outdoors in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains with family.

Leave a comment

Never miss an opportunity to earn HRCI/SHRM credits, identify a mentor, or connect 1:1 with another HR Girlfriend in your city or across the country.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Author picture

HR Girlfriends™ is a Human Resources networking organization dedicated to advancing the practice and culture of people empowerment. Our team of Girlfriends consult, train, educate, develop, share, promote, and advocate for solutions in the field of human resource management.

Are You IN?
Or Are You OUT?

It’s time you join forces with a community of like-minded peers ready to tackle the issues unique to the women of HR.
  • All
  • Affirmations
  • Career Monday
  • COVID-19
  • CyberSAFE
  • Guest Blogger
  • HR Advisor Newsletter
  • HR Certifications
  • HR Compliance
  • HR Law Alert
  • HR Q&A
  • HR Reading
  • HR Reel Talk
  • Join Our Team - Apply Now
  • Membership
  • Talent Management
All
  • All
  • Affirmations
  • Career Monday
  • COVID-19
  • CyberSAFE
  • Guest Blogger
  • HR Advisor Newsletter
  • HR Certifications
  • HR Compliance
  • HR Law Alert
  • HR Q&A
  • HR Reading
  • HR Reel Talk
  • Join Our Team - Apply Now
  • Membership
  • Talent Management
Affirmations

Affirmation: I Only Quit When I Cross The Finish Line

I only connect with the word “quit” when I have successfully completed a task. And in such situations, the word means taking a moment to ...
Read More →
Career Monday

Career Monday: Expert Job Interview Tips

It’s exciting to make it past the resumé and job application phase. Being invited to a job interview can feel exciting. It can also feel ...
Read More →
HR Q&A

Q&A: Are There Topics We Shouldn’t Talk About During an Interview?

You should avoid asking questions that could be viewed as discriminatory or that infringe on a candidate’s privacy. Essentially, you want to avoid any questions ...
Read More →
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap