Is "fooling around" just cause for discharge?

Maintenance Utility Man Tony Russo, age 40, is a hard, wiry little man who in his younger "glory days" was a ranking welterweight contender.

03/01/1999


Maintenance Utility Man Tony Russo, age 40, is a hard, wiry little man who in his younger "glory days" was a ranking welterweight contender. In recent months, an increasing number of complaints had been coming through to Maintenance Supervisor George McGee. Apparently Russo's idea of fun wasn't shared by his coworkers.

One employee complained that for no reason at all, Russo punched him on the arm. "The force of the jab was like a piston rod. I felt it all afternoon."

Another worker registered a similar gripe. "Tony may think it's a joke. But there's nothing funny about pain."

Other employees agreed.

When McGee spoke to Russo about the complaints, the utility man dismissed it as trivial. "They were friendly jabs," he insisted. "I was just fooling around. Here, like this."

As a free sample, McGee received a light jab in the ribs. Light or not, it was very fast and the supervisor felt a jolt of electricity go through him.

Through tight lips he said, "You may think that doesn't hurt, but let me tell you that it does. You don't know your own strength."

Russo seemed to take this as a compliment, but promised to cut it out in response to McGee's insistence.

A week later, McGee received another complaint. With this, he handed Russo a termination notice.

Russo appeared astounded and threatened to sue.

Question: Was McGee justified in firing Russo?

Benson's verdict: "The dismissal stands," Plant Engineer John Benson ruled when the situation was revealed. "When an employee inflicts pain on coworkers and refuses to refrain after being warned, it extends beyond either horseplay or, as Russo puts it, 'fooling around.' He seems to have some kind of a psychological hang-up he's unable to keep under control."





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