Firing Worker Because of ''3 Day No Call'' Rule Violation

In Continental Coffee Products Co. v. Cazarez, 937 S.W.2d 444 (Tex. 1996), the plaintiff sued her former employer for allegedly discharging her in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. After taking a leave of absence for several months, Cazarez called Continental to request additional leave because she had the flu and could not return to work because she had not received molded shoe ankle supports. Cazarez did not return to work after her workers' compensation leave expired. Continental attempted to call her, but was unable to reach her. A Continental employee later visited Cazarez's home and was informed by her son that she was sick. Later that week, Cazarez was discharged for violating the employer's "three day no call/no show rule." Continental Coffee Products, 937 S.W.2d at 447. At trial, a jury found for Cazarez and awarded her actual and punitive damages. On appeal, the Texas Supreme Court noted that Continental's three-day policy was almost identical to the three-day provision in Carrozza. The court reiterated its Carrozza holding that Continental would not be liable for retaliation under the Texas Workers' Compensation Act if the termination was due to the uniform enforcement of a reasonable absence policy. 937 S.W.2d at 451-52. However, the court held there was some evidence that Cazarez did not violate the employer's absence policy and affirmed Cazarez's award for actual damages. Id. at 452. The court found that there was no evidence of actual malice on the part of Continental to support an award for punitive damages. Id. at 454-55.