Attorney: Accent Signage execs handled firing correctly - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Attorney: Accent Signage execs handled firing correctly

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    Minneapolis police have released a chronology of the events that led up to the workplace shooting at Accent Signage Systems on Sept. 27, as well as answers to some frequently asked questions.
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On realty television shows, two simple words -- "You're fired" -- can entertain and end a career, but in the real world, firing someone or being fired is not easy and it's certainly not fun.

While no one could have predicted a shooting rampage would unfold at Accent Signage after executives let Andrew Engeldinger go on Thursday, an attorney who has been practicing labor law for nearly 30 years says the timeline of events from that day shows the company did what employers should do when terminating an employee.

"They attempted to work with this employee," said Fred Finch. "They tried to deal with the issues that they'd spotted. Then, they set up the interview at the end of the work day. There were two people were present in the meeting, and my understanding was he was to be quietly notified and then escorted out the door. That's what I advise employers to do."

Unfortunately, that best-laid plan didn't follow the intended course.

Police say the company had notified Engeldinger about his poor performance and gave him a second chance about a week prior to the shooting.

Accent Signage managers told Engeldinger in writing that his performance would need to improve immediately or he would be terminated. When his lateness and performance issues persisted, they decided to let him go -- but they did not know that he had brought a gun to the meeting with him.

Finch says there are a number of steps employers can take to try to ensure a safe transition, but there is always an unpredictable variable when someone is let go.

"I don't know if there is really anything that could be done to deal with this situation," he said. "Obviously, the field of human personality is an area fraught with surprises."

The shooting was certainly a tragic surprise. It is still unknown when the business will reopen.

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