Can an employer with a point system terminate 1 employee with 15 points but not terminate another who has 30?

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Can an employer with a point system terminate 1 employee with 15 points but not terminate another who has 30?

They are supposed to give write-ups and after 3 you get fired but I haven’t received 1 write-up yet was given a final notice tonight. I had to miss work due to a snowstorm that made the road impassable and I received points for that as well.

Asked on February 9, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends upon whether there is a written employment or union contract which contains the point system, or at least whether an employee handbook or like documents are so firm, so clear, so unequivocal, and so lacking in *any* disclaimers or limitations as to be considered to create a contract and, if so, whether they contain the system and related disciplinary rules. If there is a contract or a contract can be found to exist, the company is bound by its terms, such as the rules for dsiscipline, and if they don't follow them, could be sued for breach of contract.
But if there is no enforceable contract, then employment is employment at will and the guidelines are only guidelines or suggestions, which they are free to ignore. In that case, they could terminate one employee in a case like this but not the other, and would not have to give prior write-ups.
The best place to find an enforceable contract is in an actual contract. If there is none, finding one in an employment handbook or similar policy documents is hard, because *any* disclaimers to the effect that "all employmet is employment at will," or "nothing in this handbook creates a contract" or "policies subject to change at will" will prevent an enforceable contract from being formed, in which case employment is employment at will and the employee may be freely terminated.


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