This matter has caused much debate within our office, so I am wondering what people outside our industry think of this safety issue which has seen a young person dismissed from her employment.
The employee (a young female single parent) had been employed in an office administration role within a large distribution centre. Her hours were 09:45 am until 2:30 pm in which it was essential that she left promptly at that time so as to collect her six-year-old daughter from school.
Approximately two weeks ago just prior to the end of her shift, she noticed an error in stock control on the system. Six pallets of a product was being shown as having been delivered to the site but were not showing up as being in the stockholding on the warehouse racking. Realising that the error could cause a delay in loading vehicles overnight, she decided to go down to the warehouse herself and check to see if the pallets were actually there.
The standing safety instruction in the complex is that any person not permanently employed in the warehouse must report to the loading dock office supervisor prior to entering the warehouse. Due to the need to pick up her daughter on time, that instruction she did not follow and as she approached the area of the warehouse she felt the pallets should be, signs were displaying that pedestrians must not enter that area as forklifts were operating.
In the above, the employee could see that no forklifts were in the picking aisle she wished to access, so she quickly entered that area and witnessed that the pallets were actually on the racking. However, as she was hurrying away a forklift came into the aisle, the driver seen her and stopped, then gave a friendly gesture that allowed her to leave the area without him saying anything. She then rang up to her office and asked a work colleague to manually change the stock holding report on the system and left work believing she had "in going beyond the call of duty", prevented what could have been severe delays on the loading docks that night.
On reporting for work next morning, the employee was immediately told to report to the loading Dock office supervisor where she was asked to make a statement concerning her activities in the warehouse the previous day. On completing that the employee was immediately suspended from duty pending a full disciplinary hearing.
My company attended that disciplinary hearing in a safety advisory role to the employer and where gross misconduct was alleged by management against the employee. The employee stated that her actions had only been in the best interests of the company, and the only person placed at risk was herself. She added further, that action would not even have occurred had she not voluntarily gone beyond what could have reasonably expected of her at the very end of her shift. The employee was asked had she not considered the mental impact the forklift driver may have suffered had that vehicle collided with her causing severe injury. To that, she did not answer.
The employee was dismissed from her employment at the end of the hearing when she broke down pleading on the effects that would have on her and her young daughter. Her appeal against that dismissal was held yesterday (04/04/19), and at that hearing her dismissal was upheld, and again she became very distressed.
A Reginal Director took that appeal and informed her that she had "some sympathy" with her argument that she only acted in the best interest of the complex, but that precedent set by previous similar safety infringement cases made her dismissal inevitable.
So, was her dismissal too harsh, or justified? I have attended many company disciplinaries brought about by safety infringements over the years, but this one left me feeling upset.
Grandad1943 Fri 05-Apr-19 16:03:47
Gonegirl Fri 05-Apr-19 16:11:34
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Teetime Fri 05-Apr-19 16:27:15
Grandad1943 Fri 05-Apr-19 16:28:55
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EllanVannin Fri 05-Apr-19 16:38:22
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Grandad1943 Fri 05-Apr-19 17:05:06
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M0nica Fri 05-Apr-19 17:25:54
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