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Top Tips – Sick Days – Part I

At some point, almost every HR department will have to deal with an employee who calls in “sick” to such an extent that the HR department suspects that the employee may not really be sick.  What follows are tips for dealing with this problem including, how to prevent the problem in the first place and how to communicate with an allegedly sick employee without violating the law. Please keep in mind that these types of situations are extremely fact specific, and employers should contact legal counsel to discuss the particular facts of their situations so as to evaluate the potential applicability of the number of potentially relevant federal statutes.

Prevention Tips:

  • Have a written policy that clearly sets forth the number of sick days employees can take within a certain time period. 
  • Follow the policy.  The policy is only effective if enforced.
  • Enforce the policy consistently.  Excessive absenteeism needs to be enforced consistently from employee to employee.
  • Document all cases of excessive absenteeism and other violations of the policy in the employee’s file.  All too often, these sorts of issues are not documented and can create problems for the employer in the future if the employer ultimately decides to terminate the employee.

Stay tuned for Top Tips: Sick Days – Part II