Beware of No-Fault Attendance Policies

There is a practice that some employers utilize that employees need to understand. It is known as a “No-Fault Attendance Policy.”

These policies provide for automatic discipline, up to termination, after a specified number of absences or “occurrences” within a certain period of time, regardless of the reasons for the absences.

No-fault policies are becoming common because they are easy to implement and they assure a uniform application of policies to all employees. However, there are specific issues that arise when implementing such policies that can violate employee rights.

If the employees’ absence qualifies for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) or if it is for a disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), then there are special considerations that must be put into place. The EEOC and the courts have determined that an employer may not apply the no-fault policy to an employee who needs leave that is covered under the FMLA or ADA. Thus, those days off may not count as “occurrences.”

Therefore, if you are terminated for violating a No-Fault Attendance Policy based on legally protected absences, you should consider speaking to an employment lawyer.