Housekeeping supervisor Ellie Richards was faced with a situation that left her feeling uncomfortable about the action she would have to consider taking. In discussing the matter with Stan Miller, the other housekeeping supervisor, she began with, “I have no idea how I should deal with Judy Lawrence. I just don’t recall ever facing one like this before.”

Stan asked, “What’s the problem?”

“Excessive absenteeism,” Ellie answered. “Judy has rapidly used up all of her sick time, and most of her sick days have been before or after scheduled days off.”

“What’s unusual about that? Unfortunately, we have several people who use their sick time as fast as it’s accrued. And most get ‘sick’ on very convenient days.”

“What’s unusual is the fact that it’s Judy Lawrence. She’s been here seven years, but this apparent sick-time abuse has all been within the past few months. She’s used her whole sick-time bank in seven months. And most recently she was out for three days without even calling in.”

Stan said, “You can terminate her for that.”

“I know,” said Ellie.

“Especially when you take her other absences into account. You’ve warned her about them?”

After a moment’s silence Ellie said, “No, not in writing. Just once, face to face.”

“Any record of it? Fill out a disciplinary dialogue form for her to sign?”

“No,” said Ellie. “I really hated to. I know I should have taken some kind of action by now, but I can’t seem to make myself do it.”

Stan asked, “Why not?”

“Because she’s always been such a good employee. She’s always been pleasant, she’s always done what she’s told to do, and she’s always done quality work. She’s still that way, except for her attendance problems of the past seven months.”

Ellie shrugged and continued, “I guess what I’m really hung up on is: How do I discipline someone who is usually a good employee, and do it in such a way that it doesn’t destroy any of what is good about her?”

Stan shook his head and said, “Good performer or not, I’d say you ought to be going by the policy book. That’s all I can suggest.”

How would you advise Ellie to proceed in the matter of Judy Lawrence?
Do you feel that Ellie’s failure to take action thus far affects her ability to take action now? Why or why not
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