Southwest’s attendance policy is governed by the “Agreement Between Southwest Airlines Co. and The Flight Attendants in the Service of Southwest Airlines Co. As Represented By the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO” (Agreement). Under the Agreement, flight attendants accrue points for various types of attendance lapses, such as calling in sick, failing to show up for a flight without advance notice, or failing to report to scheduling. Different types of lapses result in the accrual of different numbers of points. For example, calling in sick without a doctor’s note results in the addition of a half-point to the flight attendant’s record, while a failure to show up without any kind of prior notice to the airline results in the addition of two-and-a-half points.
Points do not remain on the flight attendant’s record permanently. All points that are more than sixteen months old are automatically “rolled off.” If a flight attendant does not accrue any points during a calendar quarter, his running total is reduced by two. Both of these reductions are known as “record improvement.” Points are not assigned for absences that result from approved FMLA leave. Also, a flight attendant may use a doctor’s note once every calendar quarter to remove all points associated with the ailment that is verified by the note. The flight attendants’ records are kept in pencil, because they are frequently altered by doctors’ notes, FMLA leave, and pre- termination reviews.
When a flight attendant reaches between five and six-and-a-half points, he is issued a “letter of counsel.” When the flight attendant reaches between seven and nine points, he is issued a “written warning.” When the flight attendant reaches between nine-and-a-half and eleven-and-a-half points, he is issued a “final warning.” Termination occurs when a flight attendant reaches or exceeds twelve points. However, termination cannot occur under