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."





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.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
The future of electrical safety; Four keys to RPM success; Picking the right weld fume option
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
VFDs improving motion control applications; Powering automation and IIoT wirelessly; Connecting the dots
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

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.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me