Is an error sufficient grounds for dismissal?

Instrument Repairman Alex Corning had an exemplary record over his 6 yr of employment. But one unfortunate day, he dropped a delicate and expensive lab instrument while it was being serviced.

01/01/1998


Instrument Repairman Alex Corning had an exemplary record over his 6 yr of employment. But one unfortunate day, he dropped a delicate and expensive lab instrument while it was being serviced. The jolt broke some components and threw a number of dials and gauges out of kilter. Damage was estimated in excess of $2000.

It couldn't have happened at a worse time. Not only was the plant on an economy drive, but Maintenance Supervisor Phil Forrester was on the carpet for being days behind schedule on important projects. Pressures and tempers were high.

When Corning anxiously reported the mishap, Forrester flew off the handle. "That does it!" he barked, and accused the repairman of gross negligence. "If you exercised normal care, it couldn't have happened."

Forrester instructed Corning to clock out and told him he'd receive his final check in the mail.

The repairman was stunned. "I have a good work record. Anyone can make an error."

"Not an error like this." Forrester refused to back down.

"I may deserve to be disciplined," Corning insisted, "but discharge is too harsh." He made a beeline for the plant steward.

Question: Do you agree that dismissal is too harsh a penalty?

Gleason's decision: "Not only does Corning have a good record," Plant Engineer Gary Gleason told Forrester, "but he was honest in taking blame for the accident, and no willful or reckless behavior was involved. Add to that the way he must feel after dropping that instrument. He's been punished enough. In my view a week's suspension will be more than adequate under the circumstances."





No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
2014 Product of the Year finalists: Vote now; Boiler systems; Indirect cooling; Integrating lighting, HVAC
High-performance buildings; Building envelope and integration; Electrical, HVAC system integration; Smoke control systems; Using BAS for M&V
Pressure piping systems: Designing with ASME; Lab ventilation; Lighting controls; Reduce energy use with VFDs
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Consulting-Specifying Engineer case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
Integrating BAS, electrical systems; Electrical system flexibility; Hospital electrical distribution; Electrical system grounding
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.