Termination on No-Show after Maternity Leave

Can you challenge your employer at the Court of law if you were terminated for no-show ?

How do you communicate when you don’t turn up at office? Do you document it for a future reference? At what point do you inform your employer, during the no-show or after it ? Not every termination on no-show can be tested, as the Employee Agreement includes the clause for attendance, which is signed and accepted by the employees. Further more to make the case stronger, every employer adds ’employment at will’ clause. However, if there is a marked defect in the communication between the two parties, the termination can be challenged.

Here’s what had happened with an individual when she was terminated after her maternity leave for a no-show at work!

“I work for a Pvt software services company as Core HR. I have been employed for close to 2years in this company. I was on maternity leave for 3 months, during that period my employer did not pay salary saying, he will pay me once I return to my job. Meanwhile during 3rd months of leave I request for extension of leave for 15 days, he agreed for the same. On the date which I am supposed to join back, I wanted to request for another 15days of leave since to take care of baby. So i requested for extension of leave on Phone to my HR, he said drop me an email I will talk to MD and let you know. So Immediately I dropped email requesting leave extension for another 15 days. He didn’t reply anything so next day I enquired on phone for the same, for which he said we are looking for possibility by checking your existing earned leave( I have more than 10 Els). But to my surprise after 2days late in the night this guy informed me on whatsapp saying, sorry we are not able to take you. Next day I went to office to find the reason, they said since you were supposed to report back on that day but you didn’t hence we are terminating you for no show and we will not pay you maternity benefit and also no compensation for terminating. I said you cannot do like this this is unlawful, but he is not agreeing saying that in our handbook we have such rules. Then I mentioned this is unlawful to dismiss an employee returning from maternity leave, but this HR is saying you were not on maternity leave you were on extended leave so that is not applicable. I even tried to convince, you cant terminate with the reason saying “no show” since I already requested for leave on the same day, for which you didn’t reply anything whether it is approved or not. So I am planning to take legal action, can you please let know how favourable that will be?”

As Dinesh Dinesh puts it, “Withholding wages during maternity leave illegal under the provisions of Payment of Wages Act or Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. Nevertheless, when your employer had put on hold your monthly salary this was signal to you that you were de trop in your company.

For any dismissal, principles natural justice needs to be followed. In your case, your company has not conducted enquiry. Neither they have issued any show cause notice to you. Against this backdrop, your dismissal is illegal. You may approach some good lawyer to challenge the dismissal.”

“Finally I went ahead and sent out a legal notice stating “Illegal termination and request of reinstatement. After receiving the legal notice the Company MD came down for negotiation and settled the issue by paying 4 months full salary(3months maternity salary and one month as Ex-Gratia). A small amount of Rs.3000 as lawyer fee cost me to recover my 4month salary and teach a lesson to the Company. They used to pay just basic salary for employees on maternity leave, from now on they are paying Full-wages according to the maternity law.”

Alls well that ends well. We wish the professional in question a great career ahead!

As discussed on: Termination on No-Show