HR managers sometimes have to deal with difficult situations. If an employee comes back late from a vacation without letting you know, it can cause problems at work. What do you do when an employee just shows up late? This blog describes the details of a lawsuit about this topic.

One week late, immediately fired

A driver negotiated long and hard with his employer about his vacation. He wanted leave for the whole month of August, but when it turned out he did not have enough leave days, they agreed that he would take three weeks off. Five of those days would then be registered as unpaid leave. In the end, the driver showed up a week late, without informing his employer. He explained that he did not call because his car broke down, he lost his phone, and was dealing with relationship issues. When his employer asked him to prove the fact that he had car trouble, he could not. He was then fired.

The driver did not let it lie. He took it to court twice, but in the end, both cases were decided in his employer’s favor. The court decided that the circumstances warranted the dismissal, because employers should be able to depend on the agreements made with their employees. The driver could not prove that there were circumstances beyond his control and the court decided that there definitely would have been ways to inform his boss of the delay. Moreover, the employee had already received two official warnings due to unavailability. Based on all this, the employer was justified to end the employment, according to the court.

The starting point: clear agreements

The central question in this matter is: should the employer have imposed a sanction first? The decision of the court emphasizes the importance of clear agreements. Due to the fact that the leave days and duration had been recorded precisely, the court ordered that ignoring these did not warrant a milder sanction – such as a warning or a pay freeze.

The moral of the story: make clear arrangements regarding leave. A user-friendly, cloud-based leave registration system makes this process very quick and straightforward. Above all, this ensures you will always have a clear and transparent overview of all the arrangements made – even in the unlikely event of a lawsuit!

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