Steps to take before firing a no-call, no-show

As a local business owner, what would you consider your Achilles Heel? Many Homebase customers we talk to are quick to mention no-call, no-shows. Employee no-shows wreak havoc on a well-staffed shift. Essentially, a link in your customer service chain is suddenly missing and the employees who did show up are left to piece it back together.

Not only is this missing link disruptive to your operations, it’s simply frustrating, to put it nicely. Venting to your other employees could hurt your credibility and an immediate termination may put you in legal quicksand, so think professionalism first, as difficult as it may be.

We’ve thought out some professional ways and preventative approaches to deal with employee no-shows here.

Follow A Process

The first question you may have is “Can I fire so-and-so?” Understandably, your business is your first priority. Keep in mind though, not all employee no-shows signal job abandonment.

Often employees miss shifts due to serious illness or a death in the family. Or, as Rebecca Mazin of Recruit Right Consulting found, “they may think a vacation was approved or they were not scheduled to work.” She states that certain instances, such as serious injury, “could result in eligibility for time off under the FMLA and do not require advance notice.”

Reduce the chance your employee will try to claim benefits as a result of unfair termination. Depending on where you’re at in the no-show process you can adjust your approach. Begin with a  diplomatic approach to figure out the cause of the problem.

First-time No-shows

Call your employee. They may have been involved in a car accident or had another legitimate problem on the way to work. You won’t know for sure until you’ve talked to them.

Talk about things and discuss the matter. Is it a scheduling issue? Or, is there a deeper problem that needs to be addressed?

Keep a record documenting the steps you took. For example, some managers address first time no-shows with a verbal warning. Document the conversation and ask your employee to sign it. You’ll want keep a copy in your employee’s file to avoid future HR related problems.

Repeat Offenders

Assuming you’re in an at-will employment state, you can immediately fire your employee. Though, grounds for termination also depend on your attendance policy. According to, a common policy says an employee has voluntarily quit if they are absent without explanation for three consecutive days.

If you decide the next step is to terminate your employee, mail them a letter stating your reasons for the termination and clearly outline every attempt you to contact them. Occasionally, managers will take a no-show employee off the schedule but fail to follow a termination procedure, leaving them exposed to potential employment claims.

Best Practices For The Future

Be Proactive. Curb the no-call, no-show issue with an attendance policy. Write one and introduce it to your employees during training or onboarding for new employees. Other ways to prevent no-call, no-shows are also addressed through your scheduling practices and employee morale. Some things you’ll want to look at:

  • How employees communicate their availability
  • If attendance rules are enforced consistently
  • How schedules are made
  • If employees are certain of their schedules
  • Management/employee relations

There is no doubt about it, no-call no-shows are infuriating. They put undue stress on you, your managers and other employees. They devalue the customer experience and even your workplace culture. While you may have put together a long string of choice words for the culprit, the reality is there’s a certain way these instances must be handled. It is understandable you’re angry, but reign in your anger enough to make the best choices for your business.

What kinds of policies have you implemented to cut down employee no-shows? Let us know in the comments below!

Related posts