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HR Discipline, Suspension & Termination: Hirschman's Article

Discipline, Suspension & Termination (Handbooks, Wrongful Discharge, Procedural issues)

In Hirschman's article, "Off-Duty, Out of Work" from HR Magazine, February 2003, read about one man's quest to retain his job after being terminated for his personal-time activities. Hirschman, C. (2003, Feb). Off-duty, out of work. HRMagazine, 48(2), 50-56. Retrieved November 15, 2010, from http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=286023891&sid=13&Fmt=3&clientId =29440&RQT=309&VName=PQD

Using the materials from your background readings, research, and the case, answer the following questions:

? Why wasn't Mr. Oiler protected by Federal law? Why wasn't he protected by state law? Was there a privacy law that applied to Mr. Oiler? Be specific in your answer.
? What do the terms "just cause," "due process," "employment at will," and "wrongful discharge" mean? Do any of these terms relate to Mr. Oiler's situation? Why?
? What is meant by a "progressive discipline system"? Be specific. Do you think this applied or should have applied to Mr. Oiler's situation? Why?
? If Mr. Oiler's termination would have happened today would/might there be a different outcome? Why? Support your response with research.

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Question 1

Mr. Oiler was not protected by federal law, because he did not fit into a protected class. Transgender behavior such as cross dressing is not a form of sex discrimination, based on gender (Hirschman, 2003). On the state level, at will employment laws allow a company to fire an employee:

For exercising statutory rights by complaining about discrimination;
For filing a workman's compensation claim;
For union activities;
For complaining about environmental violations;
For making an OSHA complain; or for whistle-blowing activities (Owen, 2003).

Employees of government and public employers are protected by privacy laws, to protect them from monitoring and even from inquiry about the personal lives, from employees. However, Oiler was employed by Winn Dixie, Inc., which is not a public entity. Federal law prohibits employers from intruding into the private spaces of employees, as well as the inquiry into an employee's private life. In one example, an employee who listed his gay partner as the beneficiary on his insurance policies recorded the information on his personnel file. A human resources employee informed his supervisor, who fired him.

This is considered an invasion of privacy. If someone with who Mr. Oiler works brought it to the attention of his supervisors, that he were cross dressing, due to a private document, he could pursue legal action. If an employee who ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses HR discipline, suspension and termination.