Recently, Arbitrator James Scoville agreed a Minnesota employer was free to terminate a Veteran because of the Veteran’s departure from the Employer’s driving principles. Under Minnesota law, a public employer cannot terminate an honorably discharged Veteran without a Veteran’s Preference Hearing. (Minn. Stat. 197.46.) A Veteran’s Preference Hearing may occur before a Veteran’s Board or Panel. Until the Board or Panel issues a decision, the Veteran remains in a paid status with full benefits.
In the case before Arbitrator Scoville, a six year employee of the Minnesota Sex Offenders Program was terminated because of two separate incidents which occurred in June 2011. Both incidents involved the Veteran’s inappropriate responses to Incident Command System Calls. In addition to the 2011 incidents, the Veteran had a discipline record of five separate disciplines in 2010 ranging from an oral reprimand to a 5-day suspension due to unauthorized absences. Arbitrator Scoville found the June 2011 incidents were radically different than the attendance issues in 2010, and the Veteran’s actions departed from the driving principles of the Minnesota Sex Offenders Program. Additionally, each incident came a day after the Veteran was coached about his job performance.
In this case, the Employer did the right thing. They tried corrective actions by coaching and counseling the employee and progressive discipline before resorting to termination. The Employer also documented their actions. Veterans deserve to be thanked for all they do for us, but they aren’t entitled to a free pass when it comes to doing their job. Arbitrator Scoville made the right call here.
Remember to thank a Veteran today!