If you’ve ever had to quit your job in a hurry without informing anyone of your decision, then you’ve committed what’s known as job abandonment. So, does job abandonment go on your record, and can this show up in a background check?
In case you’re wondering about the answers to these questions, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about job abandonment and how you can avoid it. So, without further ado, let’s hop in!
Does Job Abandonment Show Up on Your Record?
Yes. If you decide to abandon your job, this will be reflected in your Record of Employment (ROE). That’s because job abandonment is equivalent to voluntary resignation.
However, unlike quitting, job abandonment has a lot of ramifications, especially when it comes to future employment. In many cases, employers will refuse to hire individuals who previously abandoned their jobs. Some may even rescind their job offers after discovering the fact.
As such, you need to be very careful not to take any action that’s considered job abandonment.
What Is Considered to Be Job Abandonment?
To put it simply, job abandonment is any situation in which you stop reporting for work and have no wish to return, but you don’t inform your employer of your intention to quit.
Typically, employers set a specified number of no-show days. When you don’t show up to work on these days and you don’t give a reason for your absence, employers are safe to assume that you’ve abandoned your job and you’re hereby relieved of your position.
While there aren’t any federal or state laws determining how many no-show days you get, most employers tend to have a three-day period. In these three days, the company will try to reach out to you and determine if there’s any reason stopping you from coming to work.
If it can’t find any reasonable explanation for your absence and silence, such as incarceration or a medical emergency, it has no choice but to presume you’ve quit and find someone else for the job. Why? Because companies can’t hold a position indefinitely without it affecting their work.
So, once a company finds you guilty of job abandonment, it’ll send you a notice for termination of employment, explaining the company’s position and encouraging you to contact it if you have circumstances that can potentially affect the company’s final decision.
If you don’t respond, the employer will proceed with the termination procedures, noting down your last work day as well as your termination date. If applicable, your employer will also process insurance forms, and then they’ll send you your final paycheck.
What Are the Ramifications of Job Abandonment?
While job abandonment isn’t exactly against the law, it can have serious legal and financial repercussions.
For instance, you may be ineligible for unemployment benefits if you’ve voluntarily quit your position without notice.
You may also be liable for damages if your absence has caused the company serious harm. That’s because you don’t just stop working for a few days; you also deny the company precious time to find a suitable replacement. So, until it finds someone to take on your tasks, it could sue you for damages.
Don’t forget that you’ll also lose your income and health insurance. Moreover, you’ll lose your retirement benefits, and your credit score will probably be affected.
Still, the biggest loss you may incur is a good opportunity for employment. Since you’ll probably be looking for a job in the same field, employers will ask for your references, and they’ll discover how you left your previous job. They may also find out about it by performing a thorough background check.
Since job abandonment impacts the employer and their company more than the employee who left, your new employer won’t be very inclined to hire you as they don’t want to risk the trouble of your sudden disappearance. So, unless you have a very good excuse for your departure, there’s a good chance you won’t be getting that new job.
Can You Remove Job Abandonment From Your Record?
Yes, but it’s not easy. As you know, once something goes on your record, it’s pretty much there for life. However, with job abandonment issues, there’s some wiggle room.
If you can contact your previous employer, particularly the human resources division, and tell them the reason behind your unexplained absence, they can probably change what’s written on your record. At the very least, they can inform potential employers that you quit, not abandoned your previous job.
Still, you need to have a solid reason for them to do so. In this day and age, being unable to contact someone through a phone call or even a message is practically unheard of.
So, unless there’s a convincing reason for your lack of contact, such as being hospitalized, incarcerated, or other major crises, your employer will consider your not showing up as job abandonment. Some employers won’t change their statements even when you give them a good excuse.
If that happens, then it’s best you contact a lawyer who’s well-versed in these issues. That way, they can point you to the best course of action.
And if you’re applying for a job, be truthful with your employer from the get-go and explain to them the reasons behind your actions. You’ll have a better chance of landing the job this way than if you wait for them to find out about the job abandonment from another source.
How Can You Find Out If You Have Job Abandonment on Your Record?
The easiest way to discover if you’ve got job abandonment on your record is to do a background check on yourself. This way, you’ll avoid any unpleasant situations that may arise concerning your legal rights or future employment.
But keep in mind that job abandonment may not always show up on a standard background check.
So, you may need to use the services of a reputable background check company and see what crops up. If you’re not sure where to find such a company, contact the state or federal government and ask them for assistance with the matter.
It’s worth mentioning that employers can find out about your job abandonment by merely calling your previous place of employment.
How to Prevent Job Abandonment
Since job abandonment comes with its fair share of trouble, you need to know how to avoid this situation in the future.
Basically, if you decide you’d like to leave your job, you should first inform your employer. It’s also recommended that you provide them with a reason for wanting to leave the job.
Moreover, make sure you understand the conditions of your contract. For example, find out how many days of unexplained absence would be regarded as job abandonment. That way, you can sue for unlawful termination if the company dismisses you before the specified period.
However, if you go over the specified days, but it was due to unforeseeable circumstances, make sure you explain the situation to your employer. Most employers will take your excuse into account, hopefully, either reinstating you if the position is still available or, at the very minimum, removing the job abandonment from your record.
Can You Oppose Termination Due to Job Abandonment?
Yes and no. It depends on the job abandonment policy your company has in place.
Occasionally, if an employee misses a few days without notification but eventually returns, this can be regarded as simple misconduct. Usually, this happens when the employer doesn’t have an established and regularly enforced policy for job abandonment or if the employee wasn’t aware of such a policy.
Even if the employer has a sound job abandonment policy, your absence can be seen as misconduct if the employer doesn’t properly enforce the policy. For instance, if they don’t try to contact you or investigate your absence adequately, your dismissal can be resisted.
Another thing that can be put into consideration is your disciplinary record. For example, have you previously received warnings for attendance, or has there been an unexplained absence before? If you have a good record, the court can rule in your favor and label your actions as misconduct. If not, then they’ll say that the employer was well within their rights to dismiss you.
Aspects of a Good Job Abandonment Policy
To know whether your company has a proper job abandonment policy, you need to know the following five criteria:
1. A Definition of Job Abandonment
The company needs to clearly state what it deems to be job abandonment. This includes stating how many days of absence without notice is considered job abandonment. Though the standard is three consecutive days or shifts, some may put a larger or smaller number.
In addition, an employer needs to give examples of job abandonment. For instance, if employees don’t return after their leave, this is job abandonment. If they don’t file their FMLA paperwork, this is job abandonment. You get the idea.
Finally, employers must clarify that job abandonment is a form of voluntary resignation. As such, once the employee is terminated, they may not be eligible for unemployment benefits.
2. An Investigation
Employers need to ensure that their employees have no intention to return and show that they tried to investigate the reason for the absence. As a good rule of thumb, employers should state how many attempts they’ll make to contact the employee, as well as how they’ll do so (via phone, email, or texts).
Typically, a company will try to contact you a few times in the first couple of days. By the third attempt, it’ll try contacting your emergency contact. After that, it’ll send you a letter detailing the shifts you missed and the company’s attempts to contact you. If you don’t respond to this letter, you’ll get a final letter stating your termination date.
3. Proper Compliance With Termination Procedures
Once an employer dismisses an employee from their position, they must follow the proper termination procedures. This includes things like paying the appropriate compensation, giving severance pay if they’re so inclined, and filing insurance forms.
4. Detailed Documentation
The most important thing an employer should do in a job abandonment situation is document every step in the process. That means writing down the missed dates/shifts of the employee as well as every attempt made to contact them. Employers should also document any contact from the employee after they’ve been dismissed.
If there’s a lack of documentation, the dismissed employee can use the lack of proof to their advantage if they ever decide to take legal action against their employer.
5. Consistent Application
Employers must apply their job abandonment policy to all employees and follow it exactly as written. Not only is this fair, but it’ll also prevent employees from taking unexcused absences lightly.
As such, any employee who needs to take a break or quit will notify their employer of the matter, making job abandonment a less common occurrence in the long run.
In most cases, job abandonment will go on your record, and even if it doesn’t, potential employers can still easily dig it out. Not only will job abandonment affect your chances for employment, but it’ll also affect you legally and financially.
So, if you ever decide to leave your job, it’s important that you give your employer proper notice. That way, your reputation will remain intact, and your career prospects won’t be affected. And finally, make sure you get a good lawyer if the repercussions of job abandonment become too severe.