Our group has run into irreconcilable differences of opinion, unfortunately. One of the players was not present for our first session of a new campaign and was not awarded any XP for that session.
The GM was new as well and decided to award XP as recommended by the published adventure module. XP was actually new to the group, the previous (and only up to that point) GM we'd had simply informed us when we'd leveled up.
The player that was absent considered this unfair and the DM didn't agree and considered it unfair to the other players to give XP to someone who wasn't present (regardless of the reasons).
I feel the GM has the right to run the game how they see fit and the exchange between them was frank but polite, but I don't know that the XP award method was clearly communicated before the game started because… well we hadn't really started yet.
I feel this question is slightly different then http://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/19243/how-do-i-deal-with-absent-playersHow do I deal with absent players missing out on levels or XP? because the question seemed to be addressing occasional or serial absences while this one is about coming in after the campaign has started.
So, if all XP can potentially do is cause bad feelings, why bother with it? Why shouldn't the DM just track XP 'behind the scenes' and tell the players when they level up?