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Frequent absences? Show when you decided to fire

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If you’re ready to fire an employee for missing too much work, be sure to document the absences and pinpoint when you made the termination decision. Your records may come in handy if she sues and claims her leave was FMLA-protected.

Recent case: Jamie was frequently tardy or absent from her job at the University of Pittsburgh Medi­­cal Center. One day, she called to say she would miss work because her mother was sick. A few days later, she was fired.

She sued, alleging she had been fired for requesting FMLA leave.

But the hospital argued it really made the termination decision a week before the phone call, after another absence unrelated to FMLA-covered reasons. The jury tossed out Jamie’s claim. (Lichtenstein v. UPMC, et al., No. 09-1350, WD PA, 2013)

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