Disciplinary Measures for Absenteeism and Tardiness

An employer has every right to expect employees to be on the job, on time, every workday. However, before taking disciplinary action when employees have excessive lost time or a pattern tardiness, there are certain considerations to take into account.

The expectations for attendance should be clearly communicated to employees. Your employee handbook should have an attendance policy that emphasizes the importance of good attendance and explains the consequences for those employees who are frequently late or absent. Employees who have been terminated for poor attendance have won in court when they are able to show that the attendance policy was unclear or was not consistently enforced.

Consider the following when developing an attendance policy or disciplining employees with attendance problems:

Does your attendance policy explain how absences are to be reported and the penalties for excessive absenteeism?

Does your policy distinguish between excused and unexcused absences?

Does the policy include a no-call / no-show policy? That is, if an employee is absent for a certain number of consecutive workdays without notifying supervision, it is assumed that the employee has resigned.

Do you follow state law concerning absences for jury duty?

Does your policy take into account the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Employees may not be penalized for qualified FMLA absences.

Does your attendance accommodate absences for military duty (e.g., training assignments, as well as active duty)?

Does your policy consider religious accommodation requirements before charging employees with unexcused absences?

Does your policy consider the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) concerning absences for rehabilitation of drug or alcohol addictions?

Does your policy explain that absenteeism may have a negative effect on performance appraisals, promotions, and continued employment?

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist in addressing these issues. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com .