I am a nurse in a large hospital. We are given non-specific PTO (paid time off). My boss has been calling people after they have called in sick questioning if they are truly sick. She is make people disclose details if they take "personal" time. Then, she is calling those people on a day they were not scheduled to work and telling them they need to come in because they are short-staffed. Can she legally call employees and check up on them if they are sick? Is it legal for her to ask about personal days? Can she make a person come in on their day off?

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    I'm sorry, but this is a question asking for legal advice, which is specifically off topic here. What I would suggest is contacting your ombudsman, HR, or a lawyer to discuss. If you are a member of a union, they may be able to assist you also. – Jane S Sep 21 '15 at 21:12
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    Check with HR but while this guy is an ass, he may be within his rights to take the actions he does (depending on the jurisdiction). However, it would quickly cause the company to have to deal with turnover, so even if legal, HR might not like it that he does this. If illegal, you would spend alot of time (possibly years) and money to sue, so really it is better to let HR deal with it and if they won't then vote with your feet. – HLGEM Sep 21 '15 at 21:50
  • Of course it is unreasonable for a manager to call people on their PTO and demand they come in to work, but it would be a colossal waste of time to approach this as a legal matter. Most likely there is something which is propelling this manager to behave in this way. It seems like a reaction to some kind of real or perceived offense. If HR doesn't help (don't expect anything substantive), the most productive course of action if you intend to stay at your job long term is to find out what is really the issue with this manager and address it in way she can understand. – teego1967 Sep 21 '15 at 23:54

1) Can she call employees and check up on them if they are sick?

She can call whoever she wants to, but she is a fool if she starts asking personal information. Massive legal liability. If sick time is used, she can require a doctors note to return to work. If sick time has been exhausted, and the employee is not covered by FMLA (or equivalent law about granting leave in your country), the employee can be fired, but questions still cannot be asked. If the employee is covered by FMLA, questions still cannot be asked, but the doctor's note process is much more intensive.

2) Can she ask about personal days?

No, personal days are exactly that, personal. You are not required to say anything, and if she pushes at that, you can go to HR and she will probably be reamed.

Personal days may require approval before use, that depends on the guidelines your HR department has set forth. That approval should be purely schedule based. You might be asked for a short blurb for description, but you can literally just write "personal reasons".

3) Can she make a person come in on their day off?

The overwhelming odds are no. Even if the nature of your work is that you are on call, then you are on call, not enjoying a day off. There could be something in your contract that says you need to come in, but I highly doubt it.

Id take up all of these questions with your HR department, and get more information about what your specific HR guidelines are.

  • I agree with most of this answer. However, the FMLA is country specific and we don't know where the OP resides. Not all of us are in the US (including me :) ) – Jane S Sep 21 '15 at 22:38
  • Ah, yes, very true. I can only talk of my my experiences in the US. – user2989297 Sep 21 '15 at 22:45
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    Perhaps edit your answer to point out the "FMLA or equivalent in your country"? :) And describe the acryonym. I can only guess what FMLA stands for :) – Jane S Sep 21 '15 at 23:00
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    @JaneS: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_and_Medical_Leave_Act_of_1993 (I also had to look it up). I proposed an edit. – sleske Sep 22 '15 at 12:04

Unfortunately; this will probably get closed due to asking for legal advice (but a rephrasing of the question could bring it back on topic).

Anyway, going back to your questions (and ignoring the legal aspect of it):

Can she call employees and check up on them if they are sick?

She can do whatever she wants. Doesn't mean you have to answer the phone if she calls.

Can she ask about personal days?

She can do whatever she wants. You can always reply with "It's a sensitive personal matter; I'd rather not discuss it with co-workers". (repeat as necessary)

Can she make a person come in on their day off?

There's probably something in your employment contract that stipulates this; but if you don't pick up the phone, how's she going to make you come in?

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    I'd suggest finding out where you stand legally before taking this approach. If you find out that she can do exactly what she is doing, then you could perhaps do this. I would however ensure that she is not breaching some HR protocols. It seems her behaviour is not entirely professional. – Jane S Sep 21 '15 at 21:28

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