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09
Mar
2008
Gone AWOL

An article in the Ascent – potential beyond boundaries (a supplement of the Times of India) entitled ‘Hide and Seek’ provides advice on how to deal fairly with those employees doing ‘the disappearing act’ who ‘have become a nuisance in several organisations. It gets even worse when these absconding employees come back much later to claim unfair dismissal’.

The advice includes:

  • including in the contract of employment a clause requiring the employee to notify their employer if they are absent

  • trying to contact the missing employee by telephone, followed by letter(s) sent by recorded delivery spelling out the consequences of not getting in contact with their employer.

A month was judged to be a reasonable time for giving an employee an opportunity to return to work and explain their actions.

As far as claims for unfair dismissal are concerned, the ability to demonstrate that the employer has been reasonable is very important. Following the advice given would demonstrate this.

The article concludes ‘Organisations have now become smarter in their policies in order to fight this menace of disappearing employees. It is well understood that if the absconding employee has a genuine reason, he/she will be given a chance to justify his/her actions. But if the reason behind the absence is pure malice, then sorry, your time us up!’

 

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