No-fault attendance policies are a popular method of absence management. Employers assign points to various attendance infractions: half a point for tardiness, half a point for leaving work early, and a whole point for absences. Once an employee reaches a certain number of points, the employer can discipline or fire the employee without investigating the reasons behind the attendance infringements. However, such uncompromising policies can backfire and create headaches for employers.
Discrimination Issues Regarding No-Fault Policies
The biggest issue facing no-fault policies is point implementation. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect absences related to serious health conditions. If a manager is unfamiliar with these acts, he or she may assign points to an employee by mistake. If a company then terminates that employee, the company is open to a discrimination lawsuit.
This exact scenario ended poorly for Verizon. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched a national class action lawsuit against Verizon for violating the ADA. Verizon failed to provide reasonable accommodations as laid out by the ADA and terminated a disabled employee based on their no-fault policy. Verizon settled for $20 million.
Avoiding No-Fault Pitfalls
The best way to avoid discrimination lawsuits related to no-fault policies is to shift point assessment from supervisors to Human Resources (HR). HR employees receive training regarding FMLA and ADA so they know which absences cannot receive points. Employers should also include a caveat in their handbook detailing that employees will not receive points for FMLA or ADA-protected absences.
Actec understands the intricacies of managing employee attendance. That is why we strive to help employers simplify absence reporting and management. To learn more about tracking and reducing employee absences, contact us today.