DEAR REWORKER: I WAS DITCHED BY AN EMPLOYEE FOR A "DOCTORS APPOINTMENT"

Dear ReWorker,
I manage field sales reps. I flew in for a scheduled "field ride" with an employee and upon arrival she let me know that she had a "doctor's appointment" and wouldn't be available for the field ride.
I sat around the city all day long until meeting the employee for dinner at 6:00 that night, then I caught a flight that next morning. I never questioned the whereabouts or the all-day doctor appointment (maybe it is something serious, who knows?). Instincts tell me that the employee didn't have a "doctor's appointment" and is either working an additional job or has an interview with another company. Does that employee have to take an official day off?
Sincerely,
Stood Up
+++++
Dear Stood Up,
You are the nicest manager on the planet. You have a scheduled all day appointment for which you must fly in, and your employee waits until you arrive to tell you that–oops!–she has a doctor's appointment and won't be able to make it? And you're wondering whether to count this day towards PTO? The employee's behavior was 100 percent unacceptable. If it was a sudden emergency, she should have made that clear. Since she met you for dinner, we can pretty much rest assured that it wasn't a sudden burst appendix.
So, even if it were for a medical reason, a full day off counts as a sick day. She still gets paid but she has to use her paid time off bank.
But, the bigger question here is what to do about her total lack of respect for you. Youflew in to go on a ride along and she blew you off. It really doesn't matter what it was for (given that it wasn't an emergency). She should have told you before you purchased the plane ticket.
And this is the problem. You need to talk to your employee about her behavior, because it was unacceptable. I wouldn't get hung up on why she was gone, just that she was gone.
If she has medical appointments, that's fine, but she needs to notify you in advance. If she wants to take a vacation day to find a job, learn to dance or pretend she's a pirate, that's also fine. What is not fine is ditching a co-worker, which is what she did. The only exceptions would be for something that falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). As her manager, you would know if she qualified for either.
So, your job: Tell her the behavior was not appropriate, she will be docked a PTO day, and if she ever cancels out for a non-emergency again, she'll be fired. Harsh? You bet. Realistic? That's why they call it work.
Your ReWorker,

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