Talk about awkward situations. That’s the challenge from this reader:
I’d love to hear your opinion on this situation. An employee called in sick for their shift. Later that day, the manager was out with her daughter for a nice meal and saw the employee out with a friend at the same restaurant. It was certain the ‘sick’ employee saw the manager as well. The Manager did not confront the employee in the restaurant.
What you recommend the manager do in this situation? Or employee?
First, for the employee who called in sick: While no one wishes you’re sick, hopefully you’re not lying about it. If you did lie about being sick so you could go out with a friend, then you really should come clean with the manager who saw you. And if you really did legitimately call in sick, you shouldn’t be in a restaurant spreading your germs around. This is “Calling in Sick 101”.
On some level, it doesn’t really matter who saw the employee at the restaurant. I’m sure there are plenty of people besides the manager who knew the employee called in sick. The issue becomes trust. I believe that co-workers are willing to pitch in and take on extra work when an employee calls in sick because they trust the employee.
- They trust the employee is really sick.
- They trust that the employee is being considerate by not coming in and spreading their germs all over the office.
- And they trust the employee would do the same for them.
At the point the employee is seen out at a restaurant, trust becomes a factor. Now if the manager says, I still trust the employee no questions asked…then I guess it doesn’t matter if the manager confronts the employee or not.
If the manager says that trust is an issue, then they need to have a conversation with the employee. I don’t know that this situation needs to become a disciplinary issue. That depends on your company policies and what the employee says. But the manager can simply raise the question – “You know, we saw each other at The Monkey Bar Steakhouse on Thursday night. I was a little surprised since you had called in sick earlier that day. I think we should discuss it.”
There could be a story here that makes complete sense. Or maybe not. If you have the discussion, then you’re in a position to figure it out. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking a question and keeping an open mind.
Image courtesy of HR Bartender