by Lisa Garrett Harry
Think that if an employee is fired for absenteeism,
an employer is automatically relieved from unemployment compensation
liability? That's not always the case. In fact, the law typically
Under Pennsylvania law, a claimant can't receive
unemployment compensation benefits if he or she is fired for willful
misconduct, defined as the following:* Wanton and willful
disregard of the employer's interest
- Deliberate violation of the employer's rules
- Disregard of the standards of behavior that the employer has
a right to expect
- Negligence that manifests culpability, wrongful intent, evil
design, or an intentional and substantial disregard for the employer's
interest or the employee's duties and obligations
Before an employee who has been terminated for
absenteeism can collect unemployment benefits, he must prove good
cause for the absences. Absences must be reported according to company
policy. What constitutes good cause? Missing work because
- Transportation problems outside the employee's control
- Childcare problems
What constitutes proper reporting?
- The Employee's Responsibility: Failure to properly report absences
even with good cause is willful misconduct,
leading to denied benefits.
- The Employer's Responsibility: Proof that a reporting policy
exists, the employee was aware of the policy, and the employee
did not follow the policy.
Employer Action Steps
- Establish absenteeism and reporting policies and communicate
them to all employees, in the form of a posting or an addition
to the employee handbook.
- Require full compliance of absenteeism policies from all employees.
- When terminating any employee for absenteeism, document all
absences and adhere to established disciplinary procedures.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org