Does a reoccuring illness exempt employees from the attendance policy?
I was handed the HR responsibilities due to a downsizing a couple of years ago and have been learning on the fly ever since. Hopefully some of you senior HR professionals can lend me some advice on a particlar issue I am predicting may end up causing my organization (and me) some headache.
One of our employees has been repeatedly ill over the past year. Each instance has been due to the same health condition. He will be out anywhere from a day to multiple weeks. This employee continues to see numerous physicians and specialists and always supplies us with the appropriate documentation clearing him to come back to work. However, there are two problems:
1. He has been provided FMLA paperwork on at least two occasions and has never had them completed and returned. His wife is a HR professional with another organization. She has an abrasive personality and acts as his representative when he is not at work. Together they submitted in writing a request that they would like his medical leave to be considered under FMLA. At that time the employee was sent the 'certification of health care provider for employee's serious health condition" form with written instructions that if sufficent information was not provided within the next 15 days the leave may be denied. The form was never returned.
2. Whenever this employee is off with an unscheduled absence he has yet to notify his supervisor in a timely manner according to our attendance policy. To complicate things further we work for a hospital and this employee is simply showing up at the emergency room for treatment or if he begins feeling ill while at work will notify his supervisor he is going to the ER and never report back, relying on the ER nurse to notify his supervisor. By policy an absence due to illness is considered unexcused if the employee fails to notify their supervisor at least two hours prior to the start of their shift. Most of the time the employee does not notify the supervisor until his shift is scheduled to start and will simply say he is in the ER seeking treatment and wont be able to work. He has received both verbal and written warnings concerning his failure to properly notify his supervisor of an absence.
I see the writing on the wall, this employee will likely continue the same pattern which will force me to apply additional disciplinary action, probably termination. Am I setting myself up for an ADA complaint?