Cause for Concern: Frequent Absences and Sore Hands

Cause for Concern: Frequent Absences and Sore Hands

frequent absences

Frequent Absences and Sore Hands

Dear Fran,

I just became an office manager and am also responsible for personnel issues. I have one employee who has frequent absences and missing time. She calls in before hours and leaves a voice message but never says why she is missing work. Can I ask her why she is not coming to work? Another employee came to me because she had told her supervisor that her hands were sore and it might be from work. He told her he didn’t think her job was causing her problem. Can he make that decision?

~ Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

First, there are many areas where we have to be careful what and how we ask questions, BUT we can still ask an employee why they are missing work. The next time she misses work and does not leave a reason you need to follow up with her. Ask her into your office and ask her why she missed work. I would also use this meeting to tell her that her attendance is starting to affect her performance. Let her know that from now on if she has to miss work, you expect her to leave a message with the reason why. If she continues to disregard your standards, start the discipline process.

Your second problem is actually easier. No one in your company has the right or the knowledge to decide whether a medical problem is work-related or not. You need to tell your supervisor that he MUST stop making those decisions. The proper process is to file a claim with your workers’ compensation insurance carrier and contact them to tell them if you do not think this is work-related. They make the legal decision based on medical information whether something is related to work or not. You should have continued contact with your carrier regarding any claim you are questioning.

Good luck with your new job.

~Fran

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