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."





Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
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.
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
July/Aug
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
August 2018
Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
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 Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me