Internet Overwhelmingly Supports Man Who Fired Employee Over 'Pattern' of Lateness

A man has taken to Reddit with a workplace quandary: is it justified to fire an employee due to their chronic tardiness? Less than 24 hours later, the online community has spoken, and overwhelmingly, they have voiced their support for the anonymous boss. The post, in Reddit's "Am I the A**hole" (AITA) forum, has received significant levels of engagement, with over 10,000 upvotes and 1,100 comments at the time of writing.

The situation is a familiar one—for anyone that commutes, the occasional instance of lateness is sometimes inevitable. According to Business News Daily, a 2017 survey showed that 29 percent of U.S. employees show up late to work at least once per month. And while relatively common, consistently being late can be a major issue for many employers. Over 40 percent of employers have fired someone for repeated tardiness, making it the most common of all reasons for termination.

As the unnamed Redditor—known only as u/All_Sewn_Up_545—explained in his post, an employee that he manages is "always" five to 25 minutes late to work. He added that "generally speaking, [it's] not a big deal" when employees are late, so he tends to "[let] it slide."

"These guys work on call, so even the most diligent guys are occasionally [five to ten] minutes late," he added, noting that most will call and give him a heads up.

However, when he noticed that this particular employee was demonstrating a "pattern" of lateness, he decided to intervene. The Redditor reportedly told him: "If you are going to be late, I need you to call me. Just let me know, that way I can plan around it."

The next time the employee was supposed to be on duty, he arrived "25 minutes late" with "no call."

"I find him...and let him [know] that he is getting a 'formal reprimand' and the next time he is late it will be a 10 day suspension. [That's] the standard procedure," explained the Redditor. "He tells me he is sorry, and it [won't] happen again."

The conflict only escalated from there. "Two days later my HR director calls me and says a complaint was filed against me for [harassment]," he wrote. "The guy was claiming it was the [first] time he was ever late, and that it was less than [six] minutes." The complaint also alleged that the Redditor "[allows] everyone else to be late." After explaining the situation, the HR representative remained skeptical of the Redditor and made him withdraw his formal reprimand.

Feeling "pissed," the anonymous boss began "digging through records and security footage for the past 30 days." He explained: "I find emails where I documented conversations, and [five] instances of him showing up 30+ minutes late. I gather this all and send it to HR."

In response, HR reinstated the formal reprimand, but the Redditor wanted to take things one step further. He decided to "go after [the employee] for dishonesty and insubordination"—both of which are fireable offenses.

"So, unless I withdraw those claims against him in the next [seven] days he will remain fired," concluded the Redditor. "I am secure in my decision, but [I've] heard some other guys whispering about me being a 'harda**.'"

Despite the Redditor's uncertainty, readers readily offered him their support. "Instead of taking the punishment, he tried to have YOU reprimanded," wrote u/holy_roman_emperor.

Echoed u/hello_friendss: "Chronic lateness will get you terminated in most places."

"If I were managing employees and one demonstrated that they would go out of their way to lie to my bosses and try to get me in trouble just because they wanted to avoid a simple reprimand?" asked u/scpdavis. "That's serious and that employee would be gone immediately."

Others noted that the Redditor gave his employee "a lot of leeway" by simply asking him to call and warn him when he was running late.

A handful of commenters, however, were not so quick to agree. Many pointed out that with conditions like ADHD, "time blindness" can cause issues with time management that are not so easily controlled.

"Those of us with ADHD can't manage time...Timeliness is a battle that I fight and lose daily," wrote u/Responsible_Point_91. But even that point had its dissenters: "I have ADHD and I show up to work 10-20 minutes early everyday. I wake up early so I can make it...It's being a responsible adult," u/​​Marowo14 commented.

Moreover, there is no indication in the post that the employee in question suffers from ADHD or a similar condition.

Newsweek reached out to u/All_Sewn_Up_545 for comment.

Man at Desk
A Redditor took to the site to get the internet's opinion on if was acceptable to have an employee fired for being chronically late to work. An employee working at his desk, 2005. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images