Bharat Gera
Principal Hr Consultant
Head - Industrial Relations ( Corporate)
+1 Other

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A company has a laid down policy on absenteeism and disciplinary procedure in so far as unauthorised absenteeism is concerned. This is progressive policy to educate and reform the habitual absentee workman in step by step manner. There are 21 steps being involved in disciplining the absentee workman which includes at the outset counselling, followed by written advice , further followed by written warning ,further followed by punitive suspension ranging from one day to 4 days maximum ( all in writing ) for each successive act of untahorised absenteeism unless a duration ( gap) between the previous absence for which the workman has been dealt with as per procedure and the next incident of unathourisedly absence exceeds three months. That is to say ,that if the workman shows good attendance ( without a single day of untahourised absence) for three months after the last incident of absenteeism for which he would have ben counselled or warned, or suspended depending on near frequency between one action and next action, the management gives the absentee workman, the benefit of being proceeded on the first step viz counselling/warning instead of taking his instance act of unathourisedly absence cumulatively lading to awarding him of extreme punishment of dismissal ( after a formal domestic enquiry being conducted by a external Enquiry Officer) .
Following the aforesaid absenteeism and discipline policy, if the workman happens to gets into the 21st action mode ( wherein he has absented within three months after the last unathourisedly absence ie 20th action mode involving suspension for 4 days as last but one action, he will be issued a show cause Notice as a pre curser to full-fledged domestic enquiry by an external enquiry officer in pursuance of final action i.e. Dismissal from service ( upon receipt of findings from Enquiry Officer holding him guilty of habitual untahorised absenteeism)
The action mode triggers even if the untahorised absence by workman is for a single day .
Here the views/opinion required is whether it would be appropriate to dismiss a workman who happened to be found guilty of misconduct of indulging in one day unauthorised absence , considering his habitual act of untahorised absence ( past record of attendance establishes the fact) as ground for dismissal . Whether the action of management t dismiss his services would be tenable in court of law if challenged,Of course he is confirmed workman .

From India, Chennai
Termination for absenteeism at first instance will boomerang if it is challenged. You have to build record over period, that is to say that take quarterly review of absenteeism and initiate action after conclusion of domestic enquiry. First can be warning, second can be one day suspension without wages. Go to 2, 3 & 4 days suspension, all after conducting domestic enquiry. If absenteeism still continues suspend employee for 4 more days, and then it is safer to terminate him as you would have followed due course of law.
I know this is cumbersome, but that is the legally correct way to go about absenteeism or other misconduct. Going faster than this may cause harm.
Shrikant Prabhudesai

From India, Mumbai
Dear Sen,
1. Have you followed due process of law as led down in Industrial Employment Standing Orders Act/Certified Standing Orders of the company in issuing warning, suspension etc. and build up proper records of action taken?
2. If yes, you can go ahead with the termination by following proper process of conducting inquiry by appointing an inquiry officer.
Warm Regards
Bharat Gera
HR Consultant

From India, Thane
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