What To Do When A Sick Employee Isn’t Sick On Facebook

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Imagine you’ve recently had a situation where an employee called in sick on a Monday claiming severe back, neck and shoulder pain and saying that he was unable to drive and would be off work for a week. Two days later, three of his work colleagues reported having seen a posting on his Facebook page describing the football match he played in the previous night, with accompanying photographs. What should you do in this situation? The first step must always be to carry out a thorough investigation to find out the facts. Don’t make any accusations, but simply ask open probing questions of the employee such as, "You’ve been off sick, unable to drive, with severe back, neck and shoulder pain, but comments on your Facebook page indicate you’ve been playing football. Can you explain that?" Have printed copies of the Facebook pages and photographs available to show the employee during the investigatory meeting. Watch their body language. Once you have established the facts, you can then decide whether to take the matter further by commencing disciplinary action.

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