Indiana court losing patience with inconsistent enforcement of no-Call policies — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Indiana court losing patience with inconsistent enforcement of no-Call policies

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To manage your workload, you need to know whether employees will show up for work. To avoid fraudulent call-offs (as in the case of a friend calling in on behalf of an employee who might be off enjoying a mental health day), you may even require a personal call.

But unless you are already suspicious—or have had problems with that particular employee abusing the system before—you shouldn’t single out one employee for discipline. Plus, you must make the requirement very clear.

In one case a boyfriend called on behalf of his live-in girlfriend who needed to care for an ill child. The court refused to dismiss the employee’s case.

Recent case: Stacey Heltzel worked for Dutchmen Manufacturing along with her live-in boyfriend. Heltzel had a child with a serious health condition and often had to take time off to care for her when illness restricted the child to bed rest. Dutchmen fired Heltzel for violating a no-call rule. Dutchmen told the court it had a no-proxy call rule and was simply enforcing it with Heltzel.

The court said the case should go forward because the company had allowed proxy calls from Heltzel’s boyfriend both before and after Heltzel received a “final warning” reminding her to call in personally. Because the employer allowed the boyfriend to call in after the warning, and then fired her when he called in again, it appeared the rule was being enforced to retaliate against Heltzel. (Heltzel v. Dutchmen Manufacturing, No. 3:06-CV-0227, ND IN, 2007) 

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