The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin recently contacted one of Caffarelli & Siegel’s founding partners, Marc Siegel, for some insight on how to handle violence in the workplace. Siegel advised readers that taking disciplinary action against an employee who is making threats or is becoming violent in the workplace is appropriate. Not only do such actions provide a safer work environment, but an employer who disciplines its employees insulates itself from any civil suits filed if an employee commits a violent act in the workplace despite the employer’s precautions.
“The default in employment law is employment at will,” said Siegel, “so as long as a termination is not discriminatory or in violation of the law, employers have the right to terminate someone for making a threatening statement.”
However, Siegel warned that it is important for employers to distribute disciplinary measures even-handedly. For example, Siegel said that firing one person for making a threat but not another for making a similar threat could lead to issues of disparate treatment. While every employer should insure a safe workplace for its employees, when it comes to discipline, consistency is key.