I have a staff member in which punctual morning attendance has been a minor issue in the past and I've had 2 discussions with her about it in the last year. She was ill--flu like sickness- and missed work all of last week. As a small business, anytime anyone is absent it's a hardship on the rest of the staff but obviously people are going to be ill. Still and all, the rest of her team picked up the slack, busted a gut and worked a full schedule in spite of her being gone the entire week. I phoned her on Sat morning to check on her and let her know that if she felt as though she was going to miss Monday (today the 18th), she needed to let our office manager/scheduler know Sat or Sunday morning at the latest, as Monday (today) is very busy and any re-arranging of the schedule would not be easily done last minute. I specifically requested that she NOT call in ill just before start time today. That if she needed more time off she had to make the decision before last minute. So what happens? She calls in 20 minutes before todays start time to say she's still ill and won't be in.
I'm livid. It's not about her being ill. It's that she specifically defied my request to not call in sick on such short notice. I'm seriously thinking of giving her a one or two day suspension over this. Am I being out of line on this? I have others here today, working, not feeling the best. What's it say to them if I do nothing about her ignoring my specific request? I'd appreciate any input.

TomW's picture
Training Badge

That's a hard call to make. We've all had a flu, felt better, then get crushed by it two days later. She legitimately might not have known she would feel worse instead of better on Monday.

I'm certain that a giving her more time off (a suspension) is probably not the answer ;-)

If you make a big deal about it then she's in the hospital today, how would you feel? It's an extreme example, but sometimes you have to realize that you cannot predict a person's health.

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

You're mad now, but in an hour or two you'll be over it. You're not mad she's sick, you're mad she "defied" you.

So, when she does come back in, ask her into your office. Ask her how she's doing. Ask her if she got your message on Saturday. Ask her why she didn't call in earlier. There might be a legitimate reason. Until you find out the situation, you can't be sure to do what's right.

After you get the whole picture, then give her appropriate feedback.

US41's picture

Don't give consequences to employees who are in situations beyond their control. Giving negative feedback to employees such as "Do not become ill" or "Don't act so tired when you come in with the flu" or " always remember to call me from the emergency room while you are having your leg amputated" are all knee-jerk responses of a High-D (DiSC) manager who despises not being in control.

I am a High D manager who despises not being in control, so learn from my past experience and gather more information and curb your emotions. Great managers do not desire to do anything in particular to their directs when their behavior is unacceptable. Great managers simply make business decisions and do what is best for their directs and the company.

Probably you are going to hear that they were surprised to wake up with a fever and intended to come up.

Sorry, but advanced notice of illness is simply not always a realistic expectation, and viruses don't care how small your business is. Your employees are human beings.

Mark often says, "To solve a business problem, look for the source of the issue in increasing concentric circles beginning with your own desk."

The problem is that your staff is doing double-duty to pull through. What could you do for your staff other than punish the sick person to help them out of this?