Leave Management, Policy, and Compliance

Unexcused Absences Still a Valid Reason for Termination

By John S. Gannon, JD, Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C

As employment litigation becomes more and more prevalent, employers are left wondering whether it’s ever safe to fire employees who violate company policy. Courts and administrative agencies have ruled against employers that have fired employees for improprieties such as shouting obscenities in the workplace or vehemently criticizing their manager on social media.

Through it all, one terminable offense still remains solid: When employees fail to show up for work with no excuse, you are typically safe to go into termination mode.

Alicia Budnik worked for Biogen Idec as a process operator. Things went well for Budnik during the first few years of her employment. Early in her career, she was promoted to process operator II. She was promoted to process operator III a few years later.

In 2007, Budnik was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder. She was later approved for intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). She was also allowed to work a flexible schedule, which helped her perform the essential functions of her position.

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