What should an employer do if an employee who is usually reliable fails to turn up for work?

Author: Rhonda Leabo

If an employee who is usually reliable fails to report to work, it is important for an employer not to make assumptions and jump to conclusions. The employer should try to immediately get in touch with the employee and find out the reason why the employee is a no-show. The employer should start with a telephone call and may want to follow up with an email asking the employee to contact the employer. If the employer is not able to get in touch with the employee, the employer should try to contact the employee's next of kin or emergency contact. All attempts to contact the employee should be properly documented.

If the employer still is not able to get in touch with the employee or find out the reason for the absence, the employer should then try to determine if the absence is legally protected under a law such as the Family and Medical Leave Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If and when the employee returns to work, the employer should have a conversation with him or her to discuss the situation and the reason for the absence. An employer should be especially cautious about imposing any discipline without fully understanding the reasons for the employee's absence and whether or not it may be legally protected. The employer may be able to take the employee's record of reliability into account when deciding what level of disciplinary action is appropriate.