A Sick Employee Means a Headache for HR

Another update from the Jungle….

Joe Bob worked for ABC Company for years and always had a poor attendance record. Joe Bob says he has chronic joint pain that makes it painful to stand at his work station. His supervisor often lets him sit in the break room when Joe Bob says he needs a break. Joe Bob often calls in sick but his supervisor has never warned him that he could be fired based on his attendance record.

Tom owns ABC Company and is annoyed that Joe Bob has called in sick yet again just when a big order needs to be filled for a key client. Tom instructs Beth to fill out the paperwork firing Joe Bob. Beth hasn’t done human resources work for very long but she’s worried about Tom’s instructions. She can’t find attendance records for Joe Bob to verify how often he calls in sick.

What are some of the HR issues that Beth has?

1. Without accurate attendance records, there’s no way to justify firing Joe Bob for poor attendance.
2. There is no record that Joe Bob was warned about his attendance, so there is no progressive discipline to justify firing Joe Bob.
3. Joe Bob has been treated as “disabled” by his supervisor and that means the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may apply and he may be entitled to an accommodation as a “disabled” employee.

If this scenario sounds familiar to you, it may be time to seek help. Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can work with your existing HR staff to create a framework to avoid some of the above pitfalls.

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