Final warnings must be final!

Hey Leroy, where's McNab?" Maintenance Supervisor Joel Bogart shouted across the floor at his assistant. It was 8:57 a.m. Mechanic Grade I Ed McNab's starting time was 8:30. Leroy yelled back, "He didn't clock in yet." Bogart's lips tightened.
By Raymond Dreyfack December 1, 1999

Hey Leroy, where’s McNab?” Maintenance Supervisor Joel Bogart shouted across the floor at his assistant. It was 8:57 a.m. Mechanic Grade I Ed McNab’s starting time was 8:30. Leroy yelled back, “He didn’t clock in yet.”

Bogart’s lips tightened. “I’ve had it with that guy.”

McNab had been warned more than once about lateness, verbally and in writing.

When the mechanic punched in 10-min later, Bogart confronted him with a yellow sheet stamped FINAL WARNING in large letters.

“This is your last chance, McNab. One more lateness and you’re out.”

McNab showed up on time until one day 4-wk later when he clocked in 25-min late and was given a 3-day suspension. A month later, he was late again. This time he was greeted with a termination notice.

“You can’t fire me,” he protested. “The policy around here is supposed to be progressive discipline.”

“It is,” Bogart replied. “You’re progressing the hell out of here.”

McNab recruited Bud Carlin, a grievance committee spokesman, to speak up for him.

“You can’t fire this man without adequate notice,” Carlin insisted.

“You gotta be kidding,” Bogart said.

He showed Carlin three previous warning notices, including the one stamped FINAL WARNING.

“This isn’t sufficient grounds for dismissal,” Carlin persisted. “It constitutes a threat you didn’t act upon.”

When Bogart refused to back down, Carlin threatened to grieve.

Question: Do you think Carlin can overturn the dismissal?

Plant engineer’s decision: “Reinstate McNab,” Plant Engineer Sol Parker instructed Bogart. “Since you failed to follow through on the final warning, the worker can’t be blamed for failing to take your dismissal threat seriously. Final has to mean final; otherwise it loses credibility.”