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Tardiness is the habit of being late or delaying arrival.[1] Being late as a form of misconduct may be formally punishable in various arrangements, such as workplace, school, etc. An opposite personality trait is punctuality.

Workplace tardiness[edit]

United States Code[edit]

Workplace tardiness is one of attendance issues, along with the absence from work and failure to properly notify about absence or being late.[2]

To be at work on time is an implied obligation unless stated otherwise. It is a legal reason for discharge in cases when it is a demonstrable disregard of duty: repeated tardiness without compelling reasons, tardiness associated with other misconduct, and single inexcusable tardiness resulted in grave loss of employer's interests.[2]

If tardiness is minor or without interference with employer's operations, it is not to be legally considered as misconduct.[2]

Characteristics of tardy people[edit]

Diana DeLonzor in her book Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged classified habitually tardy people into 7 categories:[3]

  • a "rationalizer" insists on blaming the circumstances instead of acknowledging responsibility for tardiness.
  • a "producer" tries to do as much as possible in time available and as a result has difficulties with too tight schedules.
  • a "deadliner" enjoys the adrenaline rush during the attempts to beat the time target.
  • an "indulger" has little self-control.
  • for a "rebel" running late is defying the authority and the rules.
  • an "absent-minded professor".
  • an "evader" puts a higher priority to their own needs compared to being on time.

Tardiness stereotypes[edit]

There are several stereotypes which associate tardiness with certain categories of people.

African time is the perceived cultural tendency toward a more relaxed attitude to time among Africans both in Africa and abroad.[4][5][6] This is generally used in a pejorative and racist sense about tardiness in appointments, meetings, and events,[7] but also includes the more leisurely, relaxed, and less rigorously-scheduled lifestyle found in African countries, especially as opposed to the more clock-bound pace of daily life in Western countries.[8] CP Time (from "Colored People's Time") is a dated American expression similarly referring to a stereotype of African Americans as frequently being late.[9][10][11][12]

Other terms referring to a loose attitude to time include "Hawaiian time" and "island time".[13]

"Fiji Time" is a local saying in Fiji to refer to the slow pace on the island, and is widely used by tourist focused businesses both in advertising and products and souvenirs.

A similar term can also apply to South Asians in the form of "Indian standard time" or "IST".[14][15][16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tardy", dictionary entries
  2. ^ a b c "Misconduct MC 15" California Employment Development Department
  3. ^ Diana DeLonzor, Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged, 2003, ISBN 0971649995
  4. ^ "What is this thing called African Time?". Daily Maverick. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  5. ^ "Time for Africa to abandon tardy culture to avoid punctuality problems - OP-ED". Globaltimes.cn. 2013-06-13. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  6. ^ Josh Macabuag. "Adjusting to Africa time - CNN.com". edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  7. ^ "Can Africa keep time?". BBC News. 28 October 2003. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  8. ^ "Backdrop of poverty to a wealth of nations". The Daily Telegraph. August 26, 2002. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  9. ^ "Baratunde Thurston: Black History Month: An Explanation of CP Time by Your Very Delayed Guest Book Editor". Huffingtonpost.com. 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  10. ^ Nikki Lynette (2009-12-03). ""CP Time": Does my Black race indicate I'll always be late? | Becoming Nikki Lynette". Chicagonow.com. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  11. ^ "A Geography of Time". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  12. ^ "Valerie June On Learning To Love 'Perfectly Imperfect' Voices : The Record". NPR. 2013-08-09. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  13. ^ "The chronically late have their reasons, but the price can be high", By KRISTIN DIZON, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER, November 17, 2003 (retrieved March 25 2016)
  14. ^ "The 15 things that white people should know about black people". Times LIVE. 2011-10-23. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  15. ^ "Why Black People Time is Folly « FAB BLOG". Fabmagazineonline.com. 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  16. ^ Black World/Negro Digest - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-18. 
  17. ^ T.J. Holmes (14 March 2014). "Black Stereotype: C.P. Time Is Not a Myth - The Root". The Root. Retrieved 18 March 2015.