Good intentions, discriminatory effects

Board disapproves of using sick leave, family-related leave for attendance management
By Jeffrey Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/31/2016

A federal employer’s attendance management program discriminated against employees’ family status and disabilities by including leaves for those reasons in the threshold for entering them in the program, the Canada Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board has ruled.

Correctional Services Canada (CSC) implemented a national attendance management policy (NAMP) for employees in 2011. The policy was designed to ensure effective communications between employees and management about absences so CSC could accommodate any needs that contributed to the absences. It was meant to help employees improve their attendance rather than penalize them. Managers were instructed to discuss absences with employees but not seek medical diagnoses.

Each month, managers and supervisors were to review employees’ leaves and look for patterns. If a pattern was identified and an employee passed an absence threshold, the employee would be interviewed. Documentation for the interviews was to be stored in confidential employee files available to supervisors only on a need-to-know basis. If the leave issues were addressed and not of concern, the matter ended there.