No-fighting rule? Punish combatants equally.

 
FREE EXCERPT

You probably have a rule against any form of violence in the workplace. Make sure you uniformly discipline everyone involved in any altercation.

Recent case: Donald worked as a table games dealer at a Pennsylvania casino alongside Allen. When dealers want to leave work early--for example, when the casino isn't busy--they put their names on an "early out" list.

The casino has rules that ban any physical contact or violence between co-workers.

During a slow shift, both Donald and Allen wanted to leave early. Allen signed the list and then "body checked" Donald, who immediately reported the altercation to the shift manager. Allen was fired a few days later.

Donald told HR he would be filing a workers' compensation claim. Then, while Donald was out on FMLA leave, managers reviewed surveillance tapes. The casino fired him, too, saying he also broke the no-contact rule.

Donald sued, arguing he had been treated differently than Allen and that he was only fired after he let management know he was seeking workers' comp, as...

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