Overview: Employers have a vested interest in enforcing workplace attendance policies and addressing employee absences. When faced with an employee attendance issue, many employers choose to progressively discipline an employee for misconduct. However, in certain instances, employee discipline may pose greater liability for employers.
Specifically, employers with no-fault attendance policies may unwittingly discriminate against employees with legally-protected characteristics, such as employees with disabilities. In addition, enforcing attendance policies for conduct that may be protected under state leave laws may expose employers to regulatory fines and penalties. Employee leave entitlements vary by state, and may be more generous for public employees.
Notwithstanding particular leave entitlements, an employer may still enforce work rules when an employee abuses his or her leave. Proper recordkeeping practices can place employers in a better position when targeted in regulatory audits or when defending court claims with respect to employee leave protections.
Trends: Enforcement agencies have focused on various initiatives targeting employees with disabilities, employees with caregiving responsibilities and employees in the uniformed services and/or veterans. Employers should stay abreast of federal, state and local legal developments related to employee leave protections.
Author: Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect termination provisions in forthcoming amendments to law regarding restrictive covenants.
Updated to include retaliation protections in the forthcoming state organ and bone marrow donation leave law.
Updated to include amendments to the state voting leave law, effective May 6, 2019.
Updated to include forthcoming amendment regarding vaping in the workplace.
Updated to reflect the retaliation protections under the forthcoming Dallas Earned Paid Sick Time Ordinance.
Updated to include information on a case involving the medical marijuana law.
Updated to clarify the forthcoming effective date for the retaliation provisions of the state paid family and medical leave law.
Updated to reflect forthcoming law restricting microchip implantation.
Updated to include forthcoming amendments regarding electronic cigarettes.