Application of a Workplace Absenteeism Policy

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

In Teamsters Native Union 847 v Maple Leaf Sports activities and Leisure, 2019 CanLII 95328 (ON LA), a labour arbitrator upheld the affordable utility of a office absenteeism coverage. Though the worker’s extreme absenteeism was as a result of the worker tried to raised herself and improve her coaching, the employer was nonetheless justified in dismissing her.

Key details and choice

In a remarkably succinct choice, arbitrator Norm Jessin thought of the grievance of Mariah Squire, a part-time worker on the employer’s Actual Sports activities restaurant. On the time of her dismissal, she had two years’ seniority. The employer’s absenteeism coverage allowed for absences from the office with none justification for as much as 10 p.c of the worker’s shifts with out penalty. Nonetheless, absenteeism above the 10 p.c threshold in any one-year interval between July 1 and June 30 in any 12 months resulted within the worker’s deemed termination. Exclusions from the applying of the coverage included any medically-supported absences and any private emergency days the worker was entitled to beneath the Ontario Employment Requirements Act. Workers who method the 10 p.c threshold are issued a warning to convey their absenteeism under the suitable stage earlier than the tip of the subsequent June. The union had not challenged the absenteeism coverage, because it mirrored what the events agreed to in different collective agreements.

On the time of her termination, the grievor’s absenteeism charge was 18.46 p.c. Slightly than being attributable to sickness or a private emergency, it resulted from her half-year of research in an accounting program whereas additionally working full time. When she obtained the warning letter, she was capable of enhance her attendance however not under the required 10 p.c threshold. Though she had requested the employer to change her work schedule, the employer declined to take action. In any occasion, the grievor didn’t advise the employer that she was finding out for college and he or she didn’t ask for a depart of absence.

The union argued that a strict utility of the coverage was unfair because the grievor was merely making an attempt to “higher” herself. The employer argued that the coverage was honest and that it gave the grievor each alternative to make sure that her absenteeism stage was dropped at a suitable stage. It additionally identified that the union had not disputed the reasonableness of the coverage.

The arbitrator agreed with the employer. He discovered that regardless of the built-in flexibilities provided by the coverage, it might be that an worker could not have the ability to preserve the required attendance that the employer expects. He held that the coverage was a affordable one which was fairly utilized, and, as a end result, the termination was affordable and justified. Subsequently, the grievance was dismissed.


This case demonstrates the worth of a clear and honest absenteeism coverage which specifies a distinct threshold of acceptable absenteeism. When utilized in good religion, even seemingly authentic causes for an worker’s lack of ability to keep up constant attendance could result in a justifiable termination of his or her employment. In unionized workplaces, the union’s prior approval of such a coverage will serve to bolster the employer’s eventual arguments about its reasonableness ought to the union problem a dismissal or different disciplinary measure primarily based on the coverage.

Application of a Workplace Absenteeism Policy

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