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A Sickening Lack Of Concern For Her Coworkers

, , , , , , | Working | March 16, 2022

I run a small team. Most are pretty good people — friendly, helpful, and good at their jobs.

I don’t even have to manage them. I ask them for things and give them priorities, but that’s only one hour a week. We get on great and it’s a really stress-free environment.

The only slight, only minor annoyance is [Employee] and her illnesses. She gets ill more than anyone, always on a Friday, and it’s always clear again on a Monday. She only ever gets ill three times a year and always four months apart, meaning she doesn’t get picked up on the metrics or have to go through the disciplinary route.

It’s so obvious she is faking it; it runs like clockwork. But because she follows all the rules and never falls into the “concern” category, I can’t act on it.

It’s three months and three weeks since [Employee]’s last sick day. The company has a major power cut, a massive order is delayed, one of the team is on holiday, and another is having surgery. Everyone is rushing around and taking on a little more than they would normally. I take [Employee] aside.

Me: “I really need your help Friday. If we don’t get this order out, it’s going to be bad. The order is really important for the company.”

Employee: “Why are you telling me this?”

Me: “Because I need you here and helping downstairs to get the parts out the door.”

Employee: “Okay. Fine. Don’t stress! Of course, I will be here!”

Me: “Okay, as long as we are clear. I don’t have anyone else to cover this. We are relying on you.”

Friday comes around and [Employee] calls in sick. The whole team works late and I have to stay until midnight to make sure things get sorted. 

Monday comes around and [Employee] comes in acting like nothing happened.

Me: “Can I have a word with you, in private?”

Employee: “Sure. Sorry about Friday. I had some woman’s issues. I imagine you won’t want me to go into details.”

Me: “Of course not. It would be completely unacceptable and against company rules, as you probably know.”

Employee: “Good. So, I’m okay to go back to work, then.”

Me: “Yes, but first I wanted to double-check you were okay and didn’t need more time off. It must have been bad to have Friday off. You seemed to be very keen to come in on Friday.”

Employee: “Oh, I was, but I couldn’t get out of bed. But I’m feeling much better now.”

Me: “Okay, but I’m still a little concerned. I’m going to ask our new Human Resources manager to have a little chat with you. As you say, it wouldn’t be right for me to discuss it with you.”

Our new HR manager is a woman.

[Employee] tried to get me to cancel, but it is within my discretion to check on any employee I have concerns about. [Employee] gave the HR manager a long explanation of how sick she was — but so much better now.

She was, however, completely unable to explain a social media post of a photo of her and her boyfriend at a theme park that she didn’t delete in time.

She got written up and made to discuss all further illnesses with the HR manager. Luckily, her health miraculously improved after that and she wasn’t ill again.

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