When you counsel or discipline employees, do you give
them a chance to have their say? For example, does your written discipline or
performance review forms provide space for employees to explain their side of
the story? If your answer is akin to, "It won't change the outcome, so why
bother?" consider Cozzuli v. Sandridge Food Corp. (Ohio Ct. App. 9/26/11)
Sandridge Food fired Cozzuli after several years of poor
reviews and performance problems. In affirming the trial court's grant of
summary judgment to the employer, the appellate court relied on the fact that
"Cozzuli signed his performance review and opted not to write any comments in
the 'Employee Comments' portion of the paperwork." The court did not believe it
was credible for an employee to use performance critiques, about which he had
not taken issue during his employment, as evidence of discrimination
In depositions, I always make sure the employee confirm
that the employer provided the opportunity to make written comments about
discipline, and that they chose not to do so. It is powerful evidence that-as Cozzuli
illustrates-can help obtaining a dismissal.
Visit the Ohio Employer's Law Blog for more
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