How Soon Can I Fire Her?

Another update from the Jungle…
image013Gretchen and Sam started their business on a shoestring budget and built the company up to a point where they now have more than 50 employees. The employees work well together and cover for each other during lunches, vacations, or sickness; whatever it takes to keep their clients happy. It’s a real team effort and it’s paid off financially for everyone.

That is…until Liza was hired as the receptionist. Liza was told at her date of hire that she would be trained on other office procedures so that she could help cover for other employees when they are absent from office. But it turns out that everyone is covering for Liza.

Liza has a malady a week, mysterious illnesses that means she misses a lot of work. The other employees are beginning to openly complain about the extra work caused by Liza’s absences and inattention when she is at work.

Gretchen just completed a review of the past quarter’s attendance records and is shocked by what she sees. She wants to fire Liza immediately based on poor attendance. Then she realizes there is no record in Liza’s employee file showing that Liza has been warned of the consequences of poor attendance.

What should Gretchen do next?

  1. She could fire Liza immediately and hope that Liza won’t hire an attorney to sue alleging wrongful termination.
  2. She could offer Liza a severance package in exchange for leaving immediately. She’ll need an attorney’s help to draft the severance agreement which would include a waiver of any claims related to the termination.
  3. She could set up a meeting with Liza to review attendance policies, give a “final” warning and wait to see if Liza improves (or not).

Does this situation sound familiar? The above scenario is a composite of several actual situations faced by clients. If your company has faced this issue, you know that each option has pros and cons. Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help your company create HR policies and procedures to limit similar problems in the future.

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