Employers are faced with many challenges in the day-to-day struggle to keep their businesses viable, particularly in these uncertain times. One challenge that employers have always faced is how to address employee misconduct. Employers must weigh many factors in determining the appropriate corrective action to take in response to employee misconduct including the impact of such misconduct, and corrective action, on co-workers and customers. Will taking corrective action deter other employees from engaging in the same behavior? Will it improve or depress employee morale? How will customers respond? Does the misconduct rise to a level requiring termination of employment?
When the employer is addressing misconduct of an employee who has a workers’ compensation claim the employer is also faced with the question of what effect terminating the employee will have on the workers’ compensation claim. Specifically, will terminating the employee result in the employee receiving indemnity benefits because work is not longer provided or will indemnity benefits be denied because the loss of earnings is caused by the employee misconduct? If the employee is receiving partial disability benefits will a termination of employment for cause result in the employee receiving total disability benefits? Will terminating the employee for cause preclude further modification or suspension of benefits?
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