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."





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