1. Right now, there are limited options for what Clyde can do and what he should do. Given that the facts are not entirely known, it is critical for Clyde to let the process play itself out. To do anything else would open him up to liability from Bob, and might compromise the integrity of the investigation. Regardless of what has been going on with Bob, he deserves due process before he loses his job or faces other consequences. With this in mind, Clyde should convene an independent investigation on the matter. This investigation should be certain to speak with a number of different parties. Among this group should be all potential witnesses, Bob, the people at the bar where Bob is going, and the victim, too. While it may be impossible to get a full idea of what has been going on with Bob recently, the company should take every precaution to ensure that it has done its due diligence. Critically, the company has a duty to do these things from a legal standpoint. The unwillingness or inability to conduct an investigation can cause the company to be sued later.
In addition, Clyde should be sure that he provides updates to the union. The union is the wildcard in this case. Everything should be done according to the book because it would be a real shame to put in jeopardy that good working relationship over something of this nature.
2. If Bob was high or intoxicated at work, he should be terminated from his position. Whether his act was intentional, negligent, or just a total accident, the company incurs liability when it knows a person is coming to work drunk or high and operating dangerous machinery. In the future, if something bad were to happen, the company would not have a leg to stand on, and it would be assumed that the company should have done more to prevent the issue. This could compromise the union relationship and the company’s capacity to deal with its workers in the future.
If it turns out that Bob was not high or drunk, the company should determine whether the act was intentional. If that was the case, then he should be terminated and all information about the investigation should be turned over to the authorities, who can make their own determinations on how to proceed. Importantly, Bob being not high or drunk is still not reason for him to keep his job. He has been out late and erratic in his work. The only reason he has been allowed to hang around despite these issues was because he was doing the job. If he was not high or drunk, the company should place him on probation. During that time, he should receive re-training. The company should work with the union to push Bob to get therapy or some form of help. At the same time, the company should take this time to protect itself. It should add more protocols to keep people safe around Bob, and the company should start looking for qualified people that might be able to take Bob’s place at the end of the day. The company should be able to execute a backup plan quickly if needed.
3. To prevent this in the first place, the company could have sat down with Clyde and attempted to get him some help. The company could have, as well, cut back on some of his work or shifted his schedule. If the company believed he was coming into work drunk or high at any point, it would have begun to drug or alcohol test him regularly. Not only might this have caught him, but it also would have served as a deterrent and encouraged him to change his behavior.
- Cardi, W. J. (2014). Role of Negligence Duty Analysis in Employment Discrimination Cases, The. Ohio St. LJ, 75, 1129.