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I was written up for violating a no-call, no-show policy. The schedule must have been changed and I wasn't aware of it. What can I do?

Monday May 27, 2013
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I was written up for violating a no-call, no-show policy. I received the monthly schedule at the same time as everybody else, and the schedule stated I was not scheduled on the day in question. Either the manager or someone else fixed the schedule and I was supposed to show up — I was not aware of this. I was called 30 minutes after the shift began and told I must show up. This write-up could result in a termination. What can I do?

Jeffrey



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Jeffrey,

It sounds as though a change was made in the schedule without your knowledge and it seems odd you would be written-up for violating the no-call, no-show policy. It would be difficult to know about this if you were not informed.

It may be that employees in your facility have an ongoing responsibility to check the schedule for any possible changes. It is impossible to have a hard fast schedule where changes do not occur, such as when someone is ill or there is a death in the family and someone cannot work as scheduled. Changes have to be handled in some way.

After reviewing the facility policy on scheduled work and work changes, you can decide if you want to grieve the write-up, again following the employer's policy. If there is an ongoing requirement to check the schedule, you may not have met that duty. If, on the other hand, the policy states that someone in administration must communicate any changes to the employee, you would have a good defense.

Also important to mention is the issue of a potential setup. If the policy says nothing about an ongoing duty to check the schedule and someone changed the schedule so that you would be seen as a no-show, no call, you should consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who works with employees.

Was there a reason for this setup, such as discrimination (e.g., age, gender) or an attempt to eventually set you on a course of a constructive discharge down the line? Have other employees experienced the same situation? How was their employment handled? The answers to these and other questions can help the attorney evaluate your experience and provide options, if any.

Cordially,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.