Protecting Employers Since 1985

Don’t Have a Neutral Absenteeism Policy: Warning to Employers!

Some Illinois employers may have neutral absenteeism policies that “administratively terminate” any employee who has failed to return to work from a medical leave of absence after a stated period of time such as one year or some other period of time set by the company.

This kind of policy is not advisable because it is probably a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In a class action suit a number of years ago against a major employer by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) it was argued by the EEOC that such a policy violated the ADA. The case settled for over six million dollars. The EEOC alleged that employers are required to assess medical leaves of absences under the Americans with Disabilities Act on an individual employee basis, rather than by following a set rule for all employees.

Thus, the prudent employer should have a personal leave of absence policy to be assessed by the employer on a case-by-case basis with no stated set limits (e.g., 12 weeks).

If you have any questions, please contact attorney Anthony J. Caruso, Jr., in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at

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