Employee can be AWOL even if he phones in — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Employee can be AWOL even if he phones in

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Many public employees assume rules against being absent without leave protect them from termination as long as they call in.

But the Ohio Civil Service Act makes it clear: “[U]nexcused failure to appear for duty as scheduled” may be considered job abandonment if it lasts for 10 days. Calling in doesn’t matter.

Recent case: Tony Washington began a series of absences for reasons his employer, the city of Cleveland, ultimately deemed unexcused. He began by calling in sick, then claimed bereavement and finally said he was taking chiropractic treatments for back pain.

The city denied his leave requests and terminated him based on his failure to appear for duty as scheduled for 10 or more days.

He sued, arguing he couldn’t be AWOL if he had called in. The court disagreed, concluding unexcused absences counted, too. (Washington v. City of Cleveland, No. 94596, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 2010)

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