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Strict attendance policy is fine if followed consistently

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Some jobs require employees to always show up on time. Nursing homes, day care centers, hospitals and the like are obvious examples. Draconian attendance policies may be necessary to ensure coverage.

As long as they allow for FMLA leave and consider reasonable accommodations for disabled workers, such rules are fine.

Recent case: Joseph Smiley, who is black, worked at a nursing home as a certified nursing assistant. The home had a strict attendance policy: two no-calls and you’re out. Smiley was terminated the second time he didn’t call in.

He sued, alleging race discrimination. But the case was dismissed when he couldn’t show that anyone else with two no-call violations stayed employed. (Smiley v. Colonial Care, No. 8:10-CV-1801, MD FL, 2011)

Final note: Smiley had taken FMLA leave earlier. That wasn’t counted against him in any way.

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