Should They Go for a No-Show?


You’ve heard the excuses:

“I was sick and forgot to call.”

“My phone broke.”

“I didn’t realize I was on the schedule.”


Given the variety of communication tools we have today, it’s incredibly difficult for an employee to justify a no-call no-show. And when an employee doesn’t show up for work it’s more than irritating; it’s bad for productivity, morale and your company’s bottom line.

The question is:

When an employee is a no-show, should you fire them – or give them another chance?

As frustrating as the situation may be, keep a level head and respond appropriately:

Follow your company policy.

Firing an employee is a serious matter, and many factors play into determining the appropriate (and complaint) course of action:

  • The requirements of your state’s paid-sick-leave law may preclude you from disciplining an employee for a no-call/no-show absence.
  • Recent Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may also impact your decision-making process.

For these reasons, defer to your employee policy, which should provide clear instructions for how to deal with an employee who fails to show up for work.

If your company policy is not well defined in this area, consider updating it. Include examples in the policy of what noncompliance looks, like, clearly spell out the consequences, review the policy with everyone, and obtained signed acknowledgement from all employees.

Consider the circumstances.

We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. True emergencies do occur. If the no-show is truly an isolated misstep on the part of an otherwise stellar employee, you may want to take all factors into account.

For help making the best decision, read this earlier post on how to deal with unacceptable workplace behavior. It contains practical advice for deciding when to address bad behavior at work, and when it’s best to let it go.

Tired of no-show employees?

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