HR Home Forums Answer for Termination Question

Conner Lantz
Post count: 4836

First and foremost, you need legal counsel. All I can offer is a general opinion based on my limited knowledge of the situation and facts of the case. So here it is and take it FWIW:
The problem here, from a legal standpoint, is that it looks like you’re disguising a disciplinary issue as a return to work matter. The problem, of course, is that in allowing the lines to bleed, you’ve set it up for the manager to believe (or at least make the argument) that he’s being terminated because of his mental health issues and/or in retaliation for taking leave of absence and that his previous inappropriate relations with underlings is just a pretext.
The question then becomes whether you do have just cause to terminate. To establish just cause, you’re going to need:

  • A clearly written fraternization policy
  • Proof that the manager read, understood and agreed to the policy
  • Written records documenting the previous disciplinary action, including what the manager did wrong, his explanation, the fact that he was warned and understood the warning
  • Clear evidence of the new transgressions, including the testimony of those other employees

.You’re also going to need to provide a clear explanation of why you waited until now to take disciplinary action. I get it. You don’t want to terminate a manager just as he’s going on leave. But the timing of termination upon return is a problem that you’re going to have to deal with. So, PLEASE do yourself and your organization a big favour and talk to a lawyer BEFORE you have your meeting. And while you shouldn’t take it as counsel, I hope this response at least helps frame the situation and legal issues so that you’ll be prepared when you do talk to a lawyer.
Good luck and let me know how it goes. Glenn