"My sales agent called in sick but pictures on Facebook shows she was out partying - now what?"

Karin Iten, Fsp Business, 07 Apr. 2015

Tags: sick leave abuse, discipline, sick leave, employee lies, employee discipline and sick leave abuse, sick leave and labour law


Last night I went for dinner with friend of mine who owns her own business. I nipped out to the bathroom, but when I came back to the table, she was spitting fire.

"What's wrong?" I asked her.

Silently she handed me her phone.

She was on Facebook and was looking at a picture of her sales lady partying away with a group of friends over lunch. And from the look of all the champagne bottles on the table, it was clear she'd been enjoying herself.

I didn't understand the problem until she told me that her sales lady had come to her desk at 11 that morning to complaining about feeling ill and asking if she could go home.

Naturally, my friend let her. After all, employees are only human and everyone gets sick once in a while.

Now she's wondering if she can discipline her employee for sick leave abuse.

If you're wondering the same thing, this is what labour law says...

 
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What can you do if you can prove your employee abused her sick leave?

 
Labour law is VERY clear on this matter. 
 
According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, if you're in a position to prove that an employee took sick leave but wasn't sick, you're well within your rights to take disciplinary steps against her. 
 
It's the proof part in this law that's the tricky bit. 
 
This as employment lawyer Daniel A. Lublin reveals on The Globe and Mail's website explains, is where your employee's social media profile can help. 
 
'Pictures do not lie; people do. If the pictures demonstrate the employee is behaving inconsistent with her stated medical restrictions, this is dishonesty and she can be fired,' he explains. 
 
Now firing might be a bit excessive for a first offense, but you can certainly discipline her if, and this is a BIG if, you can prove she wasn't sick. 
 
But Lublin warns: 'It is a serious error to assert dishonesty without proof and if the termination is motivated, even if just a little, by her request for medical leave, then this is a form of discrimination. Therefore, if you are going to fire her because she is lying, you need to be sure.'
 
So there you have it. If you can prove your employee acted dishonestly when she asked for sick leave, discipline her before her lies eat into your company's productivity. 
 


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