What kind of verification can be done for someone out "sick." Is there a way to confirm they aren't working somewhere else?

I have an employee who has used up all of their sick/vacation leave. Then they requested and got shared leave, which they used to go enter a poker tournament in Las Vegas. Basically, they used up all their goodwill with us.

She has got a doctor who will write her notes. Though I am suspicious of whether the issue is real, the doctors notes definitely are. They have been out since 4/24-5/26.

She had mentioned to one of our other employees that she was applying to a job somewhere else. Is there any recourse to confirm she isn't working somewhere else while she's calling in "sick" to my company?

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    Your question needs a country tag – user8036 May 26 '15 at 13:45
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    @PsychoData Are you looking for legal advice (ie Is there recouse under the law...) or are you looking for someone to advise you on how to investigate her outside of work activities? – Myles May 26 '15 at 14:22
  • @JoeStrazzere No, but I don't know that I would trust the answer anyway. Also, just wanted to clarify that the LMGTFY tends to point to a UNC page (for me at least) but I do NOT work at UNC. Just mentioning since it is pointed out I am in NC and that could have been falsely connected. – PsychoData May 26 '15 at 15:17
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    Other than using an excessive number of sick days, why do you care if she's working somewhere else? – user8365 May 26 '15 at 21:35
  • @JeffO It's a lot tougher to get 4 people's worth of work done with 3 for one. Even though it may technically not be against the rules, it has got to piss you off if someone want's to call in sick to you and lie and then go work somewhere else and abuse you, your coworkers, and the system like that, right? JoeStrazzere Good point. Thanks. – PsychoData May 26 '15 at 23:00

Let's review this. Your profile indicates you are in NC which is a state with at will employment. She has used all her leave, applied for shared leave which she abused. Why are you still employing/paying this person? At the very least she should be put on leave without pay (revoking the use of any further shared leave since she used it for something other than illness if that was why the leave was granted) if HR will not allow her to be fired.

If you truly want to find out if she is working elsewhere, you could hire a private detective. But really talk to HR about letting this person go before spending the money. It may be easier to solve this problem than you think.

  • Good points. HR Basically wants to ride it out another month and a half and just not renew her contract. I would rather get her gone and start finding a replacement. She is, right now, on leave without pay because she has no more leave to take. Frankly I wonder how she can afford to be without an entire month's pay and the financial situation she has talked about. Thanks for the feedback. I'm also worried because, from what i understand of FMLA, she could possibly string us along for 12 weeks on this "unpaid" leave. And they're just underhanded enough to start working at a NEW employer for – PsychoData May 26 '15 at 14:16
  • the trial period while stringing us along under FMLA in case the new place doesn't work out. – PsychoData May 26 '15 at 14:16
  • @JoeStrazzere It's state gov't. HR Won't let me make a posting until after the position is vacant. – PsychoData May 26 '15 at 14:55
  • It's harsh, but if someone out on FMLA leave doesn't return to work, you can require the person to pay the employer's share of the health insurance (pdf). An exemption is if they're still dealing with the same FMLA reason. – mkennedy May 26 '15 at 17:17
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    CAn you get HR to hire a temp? – HLGEM May 26 '15 at 17:58

You say in comments that this person is likely to be gone in a month and a half anyway. In that case there isn't much point in putting a lot of effort into it. I'm assuming that since she has used up her sick leave, she isn't being paid for the month or so she is taking off. If that's the case you don't really care what she is doing. It's a shame that HR won't let you start advertising for a replacement, but that's life.

As an aside, if this employee abused shared sick leave, you might consider taking it up with the person who shared that sick leave with her. I'm not suggesting you fire that person, but it might be worth making sure that if someone in the future shares sick leave, and the recipient abuses that sick leave, there are consequences for the person who donated the leave. That should make sure that people only share leave in genuine cases.

  • The only real reason I am looking to replace her is that I am short 1/4 of my technicians without her. She is being unpaid for this time that she has because of the doctor note. Unfortunately, our policies won't let us disclose what she does with the leave that is donated. And aside from someone telling personally, we don't know who donated the leave. HR handles that. – PsychoData May 26 '15 at 15:13
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    If the donated leave is not specifically sick leave, then again, you shouldn't care what she does with it. If it was donated sick leave, then HR should care if it's not used for the right purpose. Otherwise two people can donate each other their sick leave and then both (legitimately) go off to Vegas. – DJClayworth May 26 '15 at 15:20
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    The person who donated the leave was trying to do a favor for a coworker. Punishing the donater for the recipient's bad behavior is adding insult to injury. – stannius May 26 '15 at 16:57
  • @stannius I agree with you in principle, and 'doing a favor' may have been the only motivation. But it appears that the donor's 'favor' resulted in a cheater being able to get time off they didn't deserve. There may be some kind of 'black market' in traded leave; or the donor may have been well aware that the recipient was going to misuse their leave. I'm not suggesting a serious punishment - maybe a warning. – DJClayworth May 26 '15 at 17:04
  • ultimately, we just waited. HR wouldn't let us do anything. The sad part is that the person was blatantly abusing the system and using everyone. She even had other workers going for it and copying her. We ended up sacking this one, which was the worst of the bunch, the one who she had duplicating her ridiculous shenanigans and a third who wasn't competent in a different way. We went from 5 people in the Helpdesk to 1 in the helpdesk ( the fourth left because the others hadn't been fired yet, and they fired them a month later) I had to do the work of 5 people and I was still happier. – PsychoData Jan 26 '17 at 4:20

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