Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Feb 14, 2011

Employee fired for violating call-in policy, not FMLA retaliation


Employers wanting to enforce their call-in policy, even for an employee taking leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), should pay attention to a recent case from the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The employee called in sick under her companys call-in policy, stating that her doctor was taking her off work for a week. She didnt call in for the next three days, thinking that she didnt need to because she was applying for FMLA leave. The company gave her a written warning outlining her violation. When she violated it again several weeks later, they gave her another written warning. Finally, on her third violation just a few weeks later, the company terminated her employment. The court upheld the termination, finding that the company sufficiently informed the employee about the call-in policy and was not violating her FMLA rights by holding her accountable for violations of that policy (Thompson v. CenturyTel of Central Arkansas, 8th Cir, Dec. 2010).

Tips: The employers clearly written call-in policy, combined with its documentation showing that the employee had received the policy and understood its application, helped win this case. To review what it may take to successfully defend and enforce violations of your call-in policy, call your Vigilant staff representative. Also, consider using our Model Form, Call-In Report (1564).

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