What factors should I consider before firing a new employee for excessive absences?

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in Employment Law,Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. We have a new administrative employee in our medical office who missed 22 days of work in her first nine weeks. She has doctor excuses for illnesses for most of the days, but my front office is a shambles. Can I put her on written warning for excessive absences? Can I terminate her?

A. It depends. To evaluate whether you can discipline or terminate the employee, you need to review several issues.

Do you have an absenteeism policy? If so, has she violated it?

Does she have a disability protected under the law? If so, it may be that she is entitled to a reasonable accommodation for absences caused by the disability, unless the accommodation poses an undue hardship. That means that you would be precluded from disciplining her.

Have any other employees had similar absenteeism records? If so, how have you treated them? You must be consistent in addressing attendance issues.


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