old attendance clock - close up

One way employers can track employee time off is with a "no-fault" attendance policy, in which workers accumulate points for unexcused absences, late arrivals or early departures. Once a worker exceeds a set number of points, they can be disciplined or even fired.

The days can be used for any reason, but sometimes people have to miss work for a reason protected by law — like childbirth or disability. Missed work for qualified pregnancy — related care or a serious health condition cannot count toward their allotted time off, according to an article on the CNN website.

Employees can't be penalized for absences that are protected by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

No-fault attendance policies can serve as a way help supervisors avoid having to make judgment calls and eliminate any perceived bias. When they are used correctly, the policies provide clear guidance on just how much time off workers get. They also help employers and employees better track missed days.

But the policies have to be consistently applied to avoid any potential discriminatory claims. They also have to be flexible enough to take into account when an absence is protected under federal law.

Most importantly, supervisors need to be trained to ask the right questions to determine when absences are federally protected.

For instance, some companies — such as AT&T Mobility — have been accused violating the law. Two former AT&T Mobility workers recently filed a proposed nationwide class action lawsuit that claims the no-fault attendance policy for retail employees unlawfully discriminates against pregnant women.

Read the full article.