UFCW 21 - A Voice for Working America

Job Security

All UFCW 21 contracts guarantee that employees cannot be disciplined or discharged, except for "just cause." The Just Cause checklist below can help you determine whether your Employer had Just Cause for a disciplinary action. Answering "No" to any of the following questions normally means the Employer does not have just and proper cause.

Did the Employer Provide Forewarning?

Did the employer let the employee know of the possible or probable disciplinary consequences that could result from their actions? The warning may be spoken or printed. An exception may be made for certain conduct (i.e., insubordination, coming to work drunk, drinking on the job, or stealing company property) that is so serious that the employee is expected to know it will be punishable.

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Was it a Reasonable Rule?

Was the employer's rule or managerial order reasonably related to (a) the orderly, efficient and safe operation of the company's business, and (b) the performance that the employer might properly expect of the employee?

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Did the Employer Investigate?

Did the employer, before disciplining the employee, make an effort to find out whether the employee did, in fact, violate or disobey a rule or order of management? The investigation normally should be made before the decision to discipline is made. However, if the Employer believes immediate action is required, they could choose to suspend the employee pending investigation with the understanding that the worker will be reinstated and paid for time lost if there is no basis for punishment.

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Was the Investigation Fair?

Was the company's investigation conducted fairly and objectively?

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Did the "Judge" find Proof?

At the investigation, did the "judge" obtain substantial evidence or proof that the employee was guilty as charged? It is not required that the evidence be conclusive or "beyond reasonable doubt," except where the alleged misconduct is of such criminal or reprehensible nature as to stigmatize the employee and seriously impair their chances for future employment.

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Are All Employees Being Treated Equally?

Has the company applied its rules, orders and penalties evenhandedly and without discrimination to all employees? If enforcement has been lax in the past, management can't suddenly reverse its course and begin cracking down without first warning employees of its intent.

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Is the Penalty Appropriate?

Was the degree of discipline reasonably related to: (a) the seriousness of the proven offense; and, (b) the record of the employee in his/her service with the company? If Employee A's past record is significantly better than Employee B's, the company may properly punish Employee A more lightly than Employee B for the same offense.

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