« New app helps drivers identify parking ticket trouble spots | Main | Would you pay extra to sit in a child-free zone on planes and trains? »

August 28, 2021

Ouch! Employee fakes illness to skip work and then gets fired

Every year, sites like Careerbuilder and Workopolis ask hiring managers and HR professionals about the wildest excuses they hear when employees call in sick. And there's no shortage of whoppers, particularly since something like 50 percent of workers admit that they call in sick when they're actually not.

No big deal? Everybody does it, right? Well, the boss is on to you.

One survey found that 29 per cent of employers say they regularly check up on an employee to verify that the illness is legitimate, usually by requiring a doctor’s note or calling the employee later in the day.

In addition, another 18 percent have had co-workers call a suspected faker, and 14 percent have even gone so far as to drive by their home for a closer look.

All in all, some 17 percent of employers say they've actually fired employees for giving a fake excuse about being sick.

And you could be next. That's what happened to an Alberta technician who asked his employer for a day off to play in a baseball tournament despite being told that he couldn't have the time off. 

Despite being told no, he decided to go to the tournament anyway, texting his manager a couple of times saying that he could not make it into work due to 'unforeseen circumstances'. 

Since the employee had asked for the very same day off, the manager suspected something was up. He then went to the tournament and saw the employee pitching in the game.

When confronted the next day, the employee admitted having gone to the ballpark, but said that he was actually sick ... which is why he was only pitching but not batting.

He was fired the next day although, after launching a grievance, an arbitrator reinstated him, levelling a one-month suspension instead. That could have been the end of it, but the employer didn't agree, took the matter to court, and won.

Have you ever called in sick when you weren't? Do you think getting caught should be a firing offence?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money 



The comments to this entry are closed.


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...