Assault with wrench: Automatic grounds for dismissal?

Virtually every rule has its exception. In addition, exception is hard to accept when the rule of discipline applies to violent misconduct.

04/01/1998


Virtually every rule has its exception. In addition, exception is hard to accept when the rule of discipline applies to violent misconduct. Yet, even where personal assault with a weapon is involved, under extreme circum- stances, mitigation may have its place.

Utility Worker Jerome Spiro was the worst kind of bigot, the kind who isn't satisfied to merely hate, but feels compelled to do something about it. Spiro hated Senior Toolroom Attendant Murray Golden on general principles. Mostly it was because Golden was Jewish, but more specifically, because Golden had advanced several notches from the utility job Spiro himself long had held to a higher paying job while Spiro's own career was dead-ended.

Golden, avoiding conflict, had persistently ignored Spiro's insulting remarks and religious slurs, responding with silence and a kind of pitying half smile. This enraged Spiro even more and intensified his hatred.

One day, while in a particularly vicious mood, Spiro strung a thin wire across an aisle where Golden, carrying a box of tools, had to cross on his way back to the supply room. Spiro laughed raucously when Golden tripped over the wire and sprawled headlong, spilling the tools and hitting his shoulder against a metal shelving unit.

It was last straw time. Grabbing a pipe wrench, the nearest available weapon, Golden attacked Spiro with the tool, inflicting several blows before being pulled off by coworkers. Spiro, black, blue, and swollen, promptly filed a complaint, charging Golden with "murderous assault," and insisting that he be fired.

Golden didn't deny the charge, his only regret being that his assault had failed to accomplish its purpose.

What to do in response? Maintenance Foreman Art Belden, at a loss to answer that question, made a beeline for his boss' office.

Question: What discipline, if any, would you apply in this case?

Oliver's verdict: Plant Engineer Todd Oliver listened to Belden's rundown of the incident provoked by Spiro's witnessed planting of the wire that tripped Golden.

"Ordinarily," he told Belden, "violent assault of this kind would be grounds for immediate dismissal. In this case an exception is in order. On the one hand, however provoked, violent response cannot be condoned. I'd suggest a token three-day suspension to Golden for his excessive response. On the other hand, employees of Spiro's ilk cannot be tolerated. In view of his provocation in this incident, and his record of biased and antisocial behavior, I don't see his immediate termination as too harsh a penalty."





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me