Double jeopardy: can an employee be tried twice on the same charge?
After maintenance department Utility Worker Jack Hansen grabbed a female employee’s buttocks, tried to embrace her, and talk her into having sex with him despite her struggle to get free, he was fired for sexual harassment. Hansen filed a grievance contesting the dismissal. In a heated arbitration hearing, although Hansen’s guilt was confirmed, the arbitrator ruled that the evidence was “too sketchy” to warrant dismissal. Hansen was reinstated and the punishment reduced to a suspension.
Several women in the plant responded to the verdict with anger and indignation. Hansen’s reputation as a harasser was well known.
A few days later, three other women came forward with new evidence of harassment in the past. Just what the doctor ordered, Maintenance Foreman Eli Redlich thought. A second dismissal notice was issued to Hansen.
“What the hell is this? The arbitrator ruled — “
“I know what the arbitrator ruled. This termination is based on new evidence. Would you like to see the details?”
Hansen knew what the details were without looking. He made a beeline for the plant steward.
“This is double jeopardy,” the steward said half-heartedly. “You can’t try a man twice for the same offense.”
Question : Who is right: the steward, or Redlich?
Shaeffer’s decision: “The termination stands,” Plant Engineer Bob Shaeffer ruled. “The arbitrator’s ruling on the first case doesn’t get Hansen off the hook for charges based on evidence that was not previously considered.”