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I grabbed an employee by the arm , will Ibe fired?

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by pelebella1969, Mar 24, 2015.

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  1. pelebella1969

    pelebella1969 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am a manager, managing hourly minimum wage staff. Our ofic has polcy in which cell phones are not allowed at desks due to excessive texting and low productivity. One of the employees was texting, when I went to her desk to tell her to put the celphone away in the drawer, she opened the drawer in a very aggresive manner and slammed shut as hard as she could. It startled me and as an involuntary reflex reaction I reached out and grabbed her forearm and squeezed it and then let go it lasted about 1-second. The question is am I going to get fired? I am a male 5'11" 175lbs , she is a female 5'11" about 190lbs. I did not scream or raise my voice when this happened.

    After the incident I spoke to the employee and she told me she is have severe personal isues at home which is why she was so angry, she apologized and I apoogized and we both went back to work. My concern is that she will report me to my supervisor in the morning, put me in a negative light and have me fired for grabbing her arm. What should I do? should I notify my supervisor first thing in the morning?
     
  2. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    We cannot predict what your employer will or won't do - although if it was me, you wouldn't have a job. You can't go grabbing people like that - you can't even claim self defense.

    Wait until your supervisor speaks up about it.
     
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  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    I don't know if you WILL be fired. What I can tell you is that IF you are fired, it will be a legal firing.
     
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  4. pelebella1969

    pelebella1969 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you CBG, why woould it be a legal firing? does that mean that I lose my accumulated vacation time and am not eligible for unemploment benefits?
     
  5. pelebella1969

    pelebella1969 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for your responses, like I said I didn't mean to grab her arm, she slammed the desk drawer, I was sanding aout 3-feet away and it startled me and I did it as an involuntary reaction. I'm not claiming self defense, bu I reacted the same way I would react if I dropped an object, I would involuntarily try to catch it as a reflex reaction. Does the law not make a difference?
     
  6. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    There isn't a law that says if you grab an employee by the arm in a reflex action you can't be fired, if that's what you mean.

    In an at-will state, which is every state except Montana and even includes Montana in some situations, you can be fired for any reason not expressly prohibited by law. For a firing for this reason to be considered illegal, you would have to show us a law that expressly says that you cannot be fired for grabbing an employee by the arm if it were done as a reflex action.

    Whether you would or would not lose your accrued vacation would be up to your employer's policies. Your state does not require that it be paid out at all - it's entirely up to the employer when, under what circumstances or even if unused vacation is paid out. It would be up to the state whether this was considered a disqualifying reason for unemployment; the vast majority of people collecting unemployment were legally fired. I can see the state going either way on this one.
     
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  7. pelebella1969

    pelebella1969 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    CBG

    Tank you once agan for your response, I understand FL is an "at-will" state, however, my previous employer and even this one do not allow terminations unless there has been extensive documentations or a eggregious ehaviour ( ex drinking at work, pysically fighting with another employe, etc) I can't just terminate one of my employees because I feel like it, I have to have everything doumented, clear it with HR and my boss.

    So my question is, realistically, does my act of involunatry grabbing an employee's arm after she slammed a desk drawer, rise to the level of say drinking while on the job? My record on the job is clean, never had an altercation with an emloyee before
     
  8. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    In at-will employment, you can be terminated at any time for any reason except a reason prohibited by law (example race, religion...) or unless you have a binding employment contract to the contrary. Yes, you can be terminated legally in your situation. If you are, it is up to the state to decide if you qualify for UI benefits.
     
  9. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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  10. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    When you grab someone's arm, you're essentially committing battery.

    Hon, I'm not trying to scare you - but I don't think you understand the consequences. If we look herebattery we see that you can actually be criminally charged.

    Here's the excerpt

     
  11. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Also; if she does report it to your supervisor, her description of the incident may be different than how you would describe it happening.
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Let's just say, a termination could be the least of your worries. She might go home and tell her big bruiser of a husband or boyfriend that you assaulted her. Then what, huh? I'm sure you learned in kindergarten that we should keep our hands and our feet to ourselves.

    She might report the matter to HR, or perhaps a coworker saw the altercation, became frightened and reported the matter to management.

    You have left yourself extremely vulnerable. Violence is NOT self defense. What you did was commit an act of violence on a subordinate, who happened to be a woman.

    Let us know what happens, please.
     
  13. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    That is company policy, not law. My opinion on whether or not this is a fireable offense is irrelevant. It's only your employer's opinion that matters. LEGALLY, you can be fired. Obviously, I can't say if that is going to happen.
     

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