Employee isn’t completely reliable? OK to consider that when making promotion decisions — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Employee isn’t completely reliable? OK to consider that when making promotion decisions

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Sometimes, it becomes clear early on that you can’t count on a new employee. He begins missing work or simply isn’t available when you call him in for extra hours.

Most supervisors who find themselves in that situation will just call a more reliable employee instead. That’s perfectly fine in most cases. Punctuality, reliability and flexibility can and should be rewarded.

Recent case: Gregory Smith, who is black, worked part time as a driver’s helper, but regularly reminded his bosses that he wanted more hours and would like to go full-time. How­ever, his actions said something different altogether. Smith missed lots of work and frequently wasn’t available for additional assignments.

When two white employees got full-time jobs, Smith sued for race discrimination.

But his employer successfully argued that the real reason was Smith’s unreliability. The court said it was appropriate to select from its most reliable workers to fill open positions. (Smith v. Capital Cartage, No. 11-1314, 7th Cir., 2011)

Advice: Never hold FMLA or ADA absences against employees when you are making decisions related to job assignments or promotions. Remember that even part-time employees may be eligible for FMLA leave if they have worked the requi­site 1,250 hours with at least one year’s service. In addition, disabled employees may be entitled to leave as a reasonable accommodation. Don’t count that time off against them.

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