Two male employees working in the restaurant industry often bicker and disagree with each other. One day, one of them, in front of other employees, tells the other he should "come out back and we'll settle this," urging the other employee to engage in a fight with him later that day.
The manager thinks both are productive employees and would like to keep both of them. It's just that they don't work well together.
His organization has a policy against threats of workplace violence. The manager doesn't want to ignore the policy and undermine the handbook.
So, the question for our readers is: Should the employee who suggested the fight outside be terminated?
Please let us know what you think in the comment section or take the poll. Here are some opinions of some of the McCalmon editorial staff:
Leslie Zieren, Esq.
It is important to enforce your policies on a consistent and nondiscriminatory basis. Violence and threats of violence have no place in a workplace. The manager is right to be concerned that what has been verbal disagreements in the past between these two has now become a suggestion of a physical fight. It was an inappropriate suggestion, and the manager should be concerned that the employee who suggested it now thinks physical violence is an option.
Some level of discipline is appropriate for suggesting, as a solution to the inability or unwillingness of these two to get along, a physical fight outside.
Jack McCalmon, Esq.
Ignoring the threat or minimizing the threat as "just talk" undermines the policy and creates a risk, should the employee who made the threat carry it out sometime in the future. Termination is an option, and one that would be considered reasonable.
If not a termination, an employer should consider a suspension, and separate the two employees at the very least.
You can provide a comment on what you would do or answer our poll. Please note any comments provided may be shared with others.