Monday, June 20, 2011

What Will You Do If An Employee is Identified in the Riot?

The aftermath of the riot last week is still in the early stages, damages are being assessed, photos and videos and social networking sites are being reviewed to identify participants and many people are posting articles, blogs and comments on what they think caused it and what should happen to people who were involved.

So far at least three people have been fired from their jobs, either because they were identified in a photo or video or because they bragged about their participation on a social networking site and were associated with a business. There may be more such firings over the coming weeks. Clearly the costs to business are not restricted to the downtown core as the businesses that had these employees not only have their reputation at stake, they now have a cost to hire and train replacement staff. There will also be a ripple effect of costs related to these people now being unemployed and likely will face greater challenges in being reemployed.

The three employees noted above were all fired within a few days of the riot based on the publicity generated by the photos and videos and understandably business owners/managers will have concerns about their companies’ reputation. One of the three was fired because she was identified as stealing from a store during the riot, which raises another concern for an employer.

Is an immediate decision to fire these employees the best choice? The emotions in the metro area are running high right now and decisions are somewhat forced by the demands of customers. However, what decisions are made in calmer times when an employee is alleged to have committed a crime? Rarely are they immediately fired, sometimes they are suspended with or without pay, sometimes they are transferred to a low risk role temporarily until a proper investigation takes place.

I don’t think that there is one right answer but what do you think? What will you do if an employee in your organization is identified as a participant in the riot?

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