How To Terminate An Employee For Job Abandonment

Author : Brian S. Degroat

Job abandonment is an issue when employees are terminated due to not showing up or calling in to work.

Employee attendance is difficult to manage, but easy to spot when problems arise. When employees are consistently late, or fail to show up for work, it creates a dilemma for the other employees who rely upon that person to be there, or rely upon each other. Excessive absenteeism and unauthorized leave must be addressed in a timely manner, before they can impact the morale of the department.

Whether the choice is to discipline the employee or take further action, employees should be held accountable, but if you don’t have a policy in place, you may risk litigation for wrongful termination.

For example, a policy that defines what job abandonment is may suggest that three days of unexcused and unreported absence will result in job abandonment should be issued to all employees as part of an employee policy manual when onboarding new hires. This way, the expectations are clear, and job abandonment is defined.

Another definition of job abandonment may be when the employee has been absent due to illness for 10 consecutive work days, has no sick leave days accumulated and has not requested vacation or a leave of absence. If the employee fails to return to work after an approved leave, that may also constitute job abandonment, however it should be pre-defined.

Having a clear policy that has been disseminated to employees removes much of the risk of post-termination litigation.

Many employers have policies in place that reserve the right to terminate employment if the employee fails to report to work, or fails to notify the employer of absence.

What policies do you have in place, and what policies should you have?

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