So, you have an employee who keeps reporting late to work, can you fire the person? As with
many issues in Human Resources (HR), it depends. A large national employer recently fired an
individual who came into work late on multiple occasions. It turns out the individual had a
medical condition, and the employee told the employer each time they were late that it was
due to their condition. The employee subsequently requested the use of intermittent leave as a
reasonable accommodation. The employer did not provide the accommodation or excuse the
absences that were related to the condition and the employee was later demoted. The EEOC is
now seeking monetary relief for that employee. The employer could be responsible for back
pay, compensatory, and punitive damages.

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act is applicable to employers with 15 employees. Some
states may have their own state laws that apply. In the State of New Mexico, for example, the
Human Rights Act includes medical conditions and covers employers with only four employees.
The EEOC’s position is that a request for intermittent leave can be a reasonable
accommodation absent an undue hardship.

One thing to keep in mind is that if an employer claims an undue hardship, they will have to
support the claim. In addition, even at-will employers can be impacted if the ADA is applicable
to their organization.

If you have HR Compliance questions, it is advisable to talk to professional experts in the field
before taking action. Contact us at today!

Magdalena Vigil-Tullar

Written by | Magdalena Vigil-Tullar


Phone: 505-270-7494 | Email:

PO Box 14274 | Albuquerque, NM 87191

SWHRC - We Keep HR Simple!