How to Deal With Employees Who Are Habitually Sick, Tardy and Absent

Would you like to know how to deal with habitually absent, tardy, and sick employees? An employee may not be coming to work because he/she claims to be sick – others may be habitually coming late. If you want to fire such people, is there a risk?


Let us find out.



What Should I Do?

First, determine whether there are federal or state statutes that apply to the scenario. Then check if your employee has worked for at least a year at your organization and if he/she meets the minimum required working hours. After that, check if FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) is covering your employee.


If so, he/she is entitled to unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks per year. You can choose not to pay any employee on FMLA leave. In addition, you may tell the employee to notice you early as well as provide certification of their health condition. Although you cannot discipline such an employee, you can transfer him/her to another position with at least the same benefits and pay as the current position. Next, determine if ADA is protecting your employee (Americans with Disabilities Act).


The act requires you to accommodate employees with disabilities provided they can fulfill the essential functions of the job. ADA only protects those suffering from something very serious in order to qualify as a disability. Either ADA or FMLA does not say you can tolerate unending absenteeism.


If your employee, with no disability, has exhausted his/her FMLA leave, you can opt to fire or discipline him/her. Nonetheless, before you do anything, consider having an expert opinion on state laws from labor laws and an employment lawyer.



Should I Make An Employee Handbook?

In order to handle such cases with ease, consider including such policies in your employee handbooks. In the handbook, you can include all the above topics and ensure all the employees acknowledge receiving it.


Then make sure you enforce those policies equally across the board to avoid any misplaced claims. One of the simplest ways to alleviate such a problem would involve defining each job description as clearly as possible including the essential job functions. If the policies differ from one job category to another, enforce uniformly per category.


Nevertheless, when there are no such attendance policies, you can introduce them by noticing all the employees. Having detailed and accurate records can also protect you from discrimination claims.



Keeping Records

When an employee is absent, record when, why and any disciplinary actions taken if any. You can use those records to fight any claims that may come after terminating an employee. As always, you can contact an attorney if you are facing that situation. He/she may help you handle risks of liability, make appropriate attendance policies and answer difficult questions you have.


In addition, you can ensure your business activities like hiring, disciplining and firing employees. Better you spend little now instead of later paying more.