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Steps to Take Before Firing a No-Show Employee

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Monday, your employee Bob doesn't show up to work. He doesn't even call to tell you why he won't be in. Tuesday, he's a no show again. Wednesday, you're getting worried and angry.

Can you fire a no-show employee? Are there steps you must take first?

No Call No Show

Sometimes, employees don't show up to work. Usually, they'll call to tell you they're sick, but, every once in a while, an employee will go incognito for a couple days. This can put a heavy strain on your business, and you may be angry enough to fire the employee right away. In at-will employment states, you are, generally, within your rights to fire any employee for any reason at any time. However, you may want to take some preliminary steps first:

1. Try to contact the employee

Until you've talked to your employee, you won't know the reason for the absence. It's possible that the absence is completely legitimate. For example, your employee's absence may be covered by the Family Medical Leave Act if it's for a medical condition. You do not want to rush into firing an employee without being informed. You could be unknowingly violating the FMLA or another law.

2. Follow your no-call no-show policy

Do you have a no-call no-show policy? If yes, then follow it. A common policy considers an employee to have voluntarily quit if he is absent without explanation for three consecutive days. You don't want to violate your own policy by firing the employee after two days of absence.

If you do not already have a policy, you should create one. Sometimes, employees don't call in because they didn't know they had to or didn't know who to call. Create a written policy describing requirements and consequences for not showing up to work.

Firing an Employee

Once you've made a decision to fire your delinquent employee, don't forget to communicate that clearly to the employee. Send a termination letter explaining the company's no-call no-show policy, how he violated it, and your attempts to contact him. This will help protect you against any claims later on.

Also, don't forget to send the employee's last paycheck within the time frame required by your state's law.

If you are dealing with an absent employee or would like to create a no-call no-show policy, consult with an experienced local business attorney for help.

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