Teacher Gets to Keep Job Despite Being Tardy 111 Times in Two Years
Be glad you don’t have Arnold Anderson working for you.
Anderson, a New Jersey school teacher, showed up late for work 111 times over the past two years.
And he gets to keep his job, the one that pays him $90,000 a year.
His school tried to fire Anderson, who has taught for 15 years, for excessive absences. According to the Associated Press, he was late 46 times in the most recent school year through March 20 and 65 times in the previous school year.
But, an arbitrator ruled his lateness didn’t affect the quality of his teaching (one supposes for the time he was actually there).
In fact, the arbitrator said, Anderson “delivers a superb educational experience to his grateful students.” Most of those grateful students were undoubtedly in his curtailed first-period classes.
The rest of the ruling was what one can expect from a government arbitrator. The school district failed to give Anderson formal notice of inefficiency or 90 days to correct his failings before firing him.
Most businesses have become more flexible on hours, and 9-to-5 work days are an archaic concept to many entrepreneurs. Indeed, most enlightened managers don’t clock-watch but do what the arbitrator did and evaluate employees on the work they do, rather than worry about small transgressions like lateness.
But Anderson is in a different league. For one thing, as a union employee, his hours are closely watched and monitored – and memorialized by contract. One wonders if the situation would be the same if he were kept after his allotted hours, without overtime, 111 times in two years.
Second…well, it is 111 TIMES. It’s one thing to have a lie-in from time to time, but a school year is only 180 days. That means he was late about a third of the time over two years. And his excuses, the arbitrator ruled, were “micro-quibbles of a few unpersuasive explanations.”
Ray Hennessey is the former editorial director of Entrepreneur.