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How to Handle the Chronically Sick and Absent Employee

JDSupra (04/02/2012) Kelly Schoening

Disciplining or terminating an employee who chronically is absent, arrives late, or leaves work early is a tricky proposition, and companies must consider a number of factors. Companies should have a written policy that discusses absenteeism and late arrivals. Companies must follow the policy and apply it consistently.

If an employee meets the criteria for federal Family and Medical Leave Act leave, the law protects the employee and his or her job. This is the case even if the employee has not asked for or even mentioned FMLA leave, because it is not the employee’s obligation to do so. Instead it is the company’s obligation in certain instances.

The need for leave or a flexible schedule can be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Employees must ask for this accommodation from the company, and the requests must be considered.