How to Deal with a Runaway Employee

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Employees refusing to report to work can provide a lot of challenges for businesses. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “an absent employee may cost a business from $200 to $2,000 per day.” That’s a lot of money! Absenteeism might be an issue, but what if they just flat out left?

There are a few reasons why employees might refuse to come to work. They may be protesting something the company is doing or angry about something happening at work. The problem becomes worse when the people involved are managers or high-value employees with access to essential documents and assets nobody else in the company has. Whatever the reason, businesses need to handle these situations delicately. Here are a few efforts to consider.

Identify the Cause

The first step businesses should take must involve identifying the cause of the employee’s unexplained absence. It will help them understand the situation and figure out a plan to address it. Many times, the root cause of the problem is an emergency. For example, if an employee protests against a company policy, they may stop coming to work until the issue gets resolved. However, suppose the employee is dealing with a family emergency. In that case, the business can try to accommodate them by working with them to find a way to balance their work and personal life.

Emergencies that require them to be absent for a long time include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A death in the family
  • A serious illness
  • A divorce or custody battle
  • A move to a new location
  • Financial problems

If the employee is going through one of these events, the company should understand and try to work with them. However, the company may need to take disciplinary action if the absences cause is not an emergency, such as chronic lateness or taking too many days off.

Follow HR Protocols

Businesses must follow their human resources protocols. These will help the company maintain control over the situation and protect itself legally. The first thing businesses should do is try to contact the employee. They can do this by phone, email, or text message. If the employee does not respond, the company should send them a certified letter requesting that they come to work within a certain number of days.

Businesses should sit with employees when they return to work and discuss their absences. They should ask them why they were absent and what they plan to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The company should also document the meeting. Punishments might vary according to the discussion.

If the employee does not respond, the business may need to take more drastic measures. They may need to terminate their employment or bring legal action against them. However, companies should consult with an attorney before taking these steps to ensure they are following the law and not violating any employee’s rights.

Filing a Lawsuit

Lawyer for employee termination

When employees are not coming to work, it can cause a lot of problems for businesses. Not only do they lose money from the employees not being there, but they may also have to deal with disciplinary action or legal action against the employee.

They might not have transferred the necessary documents and information to someone who can do the job in their absence. The company might also be worried about what the employee could do with sensitive company information if they are disgruntled. In this case, businesses may need legal action against the employee.

The first step is to consult with an attorney. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action and help you file the necessary paperwork. However, you might already know what to do and only need assistance with the documents and processes. As a result, you will require a service of process professional. If you decide to file a lawsuit, you will need to serve the employee with a summons and complaint. The warrant will tell them when they need to appear in court, and the complaint will explain why you are using them.

It’s important to note that lawsuits can be expensive and time-consuming. They should only be used as a last resort.

Recollecting Assets

Employees who leave without notice might take company property with them. It can include laptops, cell phones, and other devices that contain sensitive information. Getting these items back as soon as possible is essential to protect the company’s data.

The first step is to contact the employee and ask for the return of the property. If they do not respond, you may need to send a certified letter or hire a process server to deliver it. You may need to take legal action against them if they still do not respond.

It would help if you also changed the passwords on all accounts to which the employee had access. Those things include email, social media, and any other online charges. You should also review your security protocols and ensure that all employees properly access company information.

Final Thoughts

When an employee leaves without notice, it can be stressful for businesses. They might lose money from the employee not being there and have to take legal action to regain their property. However, there are steps companies can take to protect themselves. By following HR protocols and consulting with an attorney, companies can ensure they take the necessary steps to protect their interests.

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