The Grievant is a 10-year employee at park district. The park district was investigation a possible theft of property and the grievant felt that he could be the target of the investigation. When he asked management about it, they refused to answer. He became more disheartened and sought medical treatment for a panic disorder. He had two panic attacks at work, which his physician testifies were triggered by stress. On the day in question , he turns to his coworker and asks him, “Can I borrow your AK-47? I might have to use it down at headquarters.
” The coworker is disturbed by this comment and reports it to their supervisor. Management discharges the grievant for violating the role on “threatening,intimidation,coercing,or interfering with fellow employees during working hours. ” The union argues that this does not count as a threat. The grievant was under a great deal of stress with the investigation and did not actually threaten anyone. Management argued that the grievant once owned a gun and while the threat was not made in regard to a specific person, what he intended to do was clear enough.
Do you uphold the discharge? The issue here is whether the management had just cause for firing the grievant on the basis of the comment he made about borrowing a gun and bringing it to work. In this case, I will not uphold the discharge. For the following reasons: 1. The Grievant is suffering from panic attacks, triggered by stress, as verified by his doctor. 2. The cause of the stress was the investigation, which Management did not address fully, or well enough, given also that the Grievant asked questions and asked for some clarifications into the matter.
3. The threat was not made towards a specific person or department, even if it was made in resentment. The Grievant did not specially say when he’d use the gun, on him, and why. 4. There was certainly no threat, no intimidation, no coercion, and no interfering with the co-worker mentioned. The supposed threat was to use the gun “at the headquarters” and not on the employee. 5. The Grievant did not bring a gun to work, nor was there any mention of it other than to the co-worker.
6. The Grievant has been there for ten years, which should speak for his integrity as a person and as a worker. The Grievant did not have mention of past history or records that are negative. I think, a more appropriate action by management is a suspension, not a discharge. Management should have been more upfront about any investigation so as not to provoke the employee. If the employee’s behavior persist, management should provide anger management and psychological counseling.