Yesterday, I found out one of my co-workers had been terminated. I don't know all the details, but evidently the individual in question had been late or called in sick many, many times and progressed through all the warnings given with such behavior...and was finally fired. I'm really having trouble understanding what he was thinking.
I guess it would be one thing if you just had X number of incidents where you were late or called in sick, and then were let go without any warning. This is not the case at my company (or any other company that I'm aware of.) Since I'm a member of a union, we may have more protection than most employees, but I think we follow the same policy as the rest of the company, and it's pretty standard one, similar to other places I've worked...if you're late and/or call in sick a certain number of times, you get an informal warning. More incidents result in a more formal, written warning. More incidents STILL will result in a final written warning. After that, you're let go.
The section chair for my union is making sure that the company followed their written policy in this case, but I'm pretty sure that they did. It just leaves me scratching my head and wondering, what were they thinking?
Good jobs are not in abundant supply right now, as I'm sure everyone reading this knows. Getting on with a major airline in my profession is not easy to do either (if anyone doesn't believe me, feel free to try it yourself, but I'd allow about 5-10 years to get the necessary training and experience.) My employer still offers a company paid pension in addition to a 401K match, plus good benefits, travel benefits, etc...if you add up all the lost wages and benefits over the course of a career, I would say that the terminated individual could well have lost over a million dollars by being fired (I know that sounds like a lot, but when you add up the cost of wages plus benefits over a 20-30 year period, in addition to the lost pension, it does add up that high.)
I wish the best of luck to my former co-worker. And, if proper procedure was not followed in letting him go, I'm sure my union will appeal to get his job back. Otherwise...I hope he learned his lesson and finds a new job that he likes, and remembers that multiple little incidents at work can add up over time.