Employers have been dealing with it for just about forever. What is the “it” to which I’m referring? Leave abuse. The employee who calls out sick from work to take a “mental-health” day-meaning, at least in my vernacular, a day of shopping. Today, Facebook and other social-networking tools have become the tattletale that other employees used to be.
When a supervisor and his direct report are Facebook friends, the supervisor may very likely see what the “sick” employee is really up to-and often, that picture doesn’t match the picture painted by the employee. Heck, there’s even a well-known story of a lawyer who requested that the judge grant a continuance of the lawyer’s trial due to the death of the lawyer’s family member, only to have the same judge discover via Facebook that the lawyer was out partying all week.
In those cases, it’s common for the employee to lose her job due to the misrepresentation made to the employer. But here’s one story with a far more serious outcome.
HR Manager Rebecca Thybulle told her employer that she’d been summonsed to serve jury duty for an 8-day trial. In compliance with the company’s policy, she produced a copy of the summons as documentation of the need for jury-duty leave.
Her boss, however, found paper on Thybulle’s desk showing that the summons had actually been sent to her father, who lives at the same address. Thybulle had changed the date and name on her dad’s summons before submitting it at work.
But leaving evidence of the forgery on her desk was only her first dumb mistake. According to the NY Post, Thybulle’s Facebook page shows that, on her second day of “jury-duty leave,” she posted that she was “Bmore bound” and, later, was “Off to Fogo de Chao then going to see [Comedian] Kevin Hart perform.” Apparently, the HR manager wanted to take time off of work and had gone to Baltimore for a big adventure.
Well, big adventure she got. She was arrested for the forgery and held lieu of $25,000 bond and faces up to 14 years in prison for her performance.
There are too many lessons to be learned to summarize them all her, so I’ll just stick to the basics. For employees-don’t tell lies, don’t forge government documents, and don’t post evidence of either on your Facebook page. For employers-there are times that an employee’s conduct may be so bad that it’s actually criminal; when that happens, call the police.