Question: We have an employee that recently requested three days off. Our policy requires a minimum of two weeks’ notice for days off, so his request was denied. He came to work and then left after three hours without notifying his manager or others and returned the next day. His manager advised that he could not do that and the employee did it again on the second and third day. What cause for termination should we consider as we will terminate the employee?
Answer: If your policies on notifying a manager before leaving work early are explicitly spelled out and known by employees, this behavior may certainly be cause for termination. In this instance the employee has demonstrated insubordination and abandoning the job site without notification or authorization. Presuming the employee was notified prior to the first incident that his request was denied, and again immediately following the first event, his actions may also be deemed as gross misconduct.
It will be important to take swift action in notifying the employee of his dismissal. Because he has demonstrated a pattern of disregarding authority, you may want to consider having a witness present in the room to capture any comments, should there be any future allegations of wrongful termination. A termination discussion should focus on the issue and permit the employee to be released with the greatest amount of dignity as possible. Follow your termination procedures carefully to avoid future litigation and make the termination as smooth and undisruptive as possible.
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