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Arbitrator Knowlton posits that fairness requires the evolution of the concept of just cause to take into account the contemporary circumstances of workers, who increasingly lack a familial safety net.

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The article examines 78 arbitration decisions that weigh the employer’s right to discipline for absenteeism against the employee’s family care-giving responsibilities. It places such absences in demographic context; examines when lack of child care is treated as a legitimate excuse for absence, describes communication problems regarding work-family conflicts; assesses the assumption that employer responsiveness to …

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A discussion of the differing measurements of absenteeism, and the conflicting views of arbitrators in cases involving corrective discipline in the context of absenteeism charges. No-fault attendance control policies and plan components are reviewed. More guidance by the parties on absenteeism standards is suggested.

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