Sleeping on the Job Questions

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Unit VII Sleeping on the Job Questions

Columbia Southern University

Unit VII Sleeping on the Job Questions

Question 1. Should the company’s treatment of the grievant for the first two “sleeping on the job” incidents influence the outcome in this case? Explain.

I think the first two incidences should have influence on the outcome of the case. The grievant was let off easy the first time. The supervisor simply let the grievant know “sleeping” was observed and that it wasn’t ok. The second offense prompted the supervisor to given written warning in the form of a “safety observation card”. This time, a formal counseling session was conducted in which the supervisor informed the grievant that sleeping wouldn’t be tolerated and that if any future incidences of “sleeping on the job” were observed, the grievant would be terminated. The supervisor even told the grievant that if there were any medical conditions that may cause the grievant to sleep uncontrollably, a note from a doctor would be beneficial, but the grievant stated that there was no medical issues. The supervisors used a progressive style discipline plan and gave the employee plenty of opportunities to correct the issue. After proving a pattern of disregard for standards and safety procedures, the employee was correctly terminated.

Question 2. Did the Company have just cause to dismiss the grievant for violating safety rules when in each instance cited, the truck was out of gear with the safety brake on?

While in an industrial area, the grievant must remain vigilant at all times. Assuming that the only danger in this situation was the potential of a runaway truck would indicate a lack of understanding of industrial areas. Yes, the truck being “out of gear, with the safety brake on” does help reduce the possibility of a runaway truck, but it does nothing to help avoid any other dangers. If there were a different type of emergency such as the equipment loading the truck catching on fire, the driver wouldn’t have an opportunity to react. Had the driver been awake in this case, the driver could move the truck away from the fire; this couldn’t happen the driver was sound asleep. Also, there are many vehicles moving within an industrial area, it takes the trained attention of all those in the area to help avoid accidents. The grievant has the responsibility of observing all those who might approach the dump truck and inform them that it is actively being loaded. Sleeping on the job, in this case, wasn’t just selfish and unsafe for the grievant, it was an unsafe action that could affect all the people in the area.

Question 3. Is the union’s argument that the grievant just appeared to be “sleeping” creditable in the absence of any testimony of support by the backhoe driver, a fellow union member?

There is some slight credibility to the union’s argument. The initial occurrence of “sleeping on the job” could have been handled more appropriately. After wagging his finger and shaking his head, the supervisor should have completed a “memorandum of record” indicating what was observed and the corrective action that was used. The time and date of the incidence, accompanied by some details of the event should have been recorded. The supervisor should have then informed the employee that this memo would be placed into his personal information file located and maintained by the HR department managers. The subsequent incidences, however, were handled somewhat appropriately. On the second occasion, the supervisor made a point to ensure the grievant wasn’t just “resting his eyes” by mounting and then entering the truck. The supervisor informed the driver of the rule that was broken and the actions that would be taken in the event of a third violation. The driver acknowledged the sleeping violation which negated any need for testimony by any witnesses. It would, however, have been somewhat helpful, and therefor appropriate, if the supervisor had asked the backhoe operator if he had noticed the truck driver sleeping since there was potential for union leadership to challenge this observation and file a grievance if the third instance did indeed lead to termination. This extra witness might solidify the supervisor’s testimony and would help avoid any opportunity for confusion.


Carrell, M. R. & Heavrin, C. (2013). Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining. Private and Public Sectors. Tenth Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson.

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