Can you be "not allowed" to call out sick?

  1. 0
    So, I have a co-worker who came in quite sick today. A resident has gotten sick because of this. This is not the first time that this has happened.

    She was supposed to work last weekend, but because she was sick, she called out. However, my LTC informed her that if she called out, she did so "at the peril of her job." She was supposed to work again today, but she was still sick. She attempted to call out, but the LTC blatantly told her no.

    This CNA is a strong worker who usually comes in at least six days a week.

    I live in Maine, for what it's worth.

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  2. 13 Comments...

  3. 0
    That's sad.

    I've been told I'm "not allowed" to call in when I've tried to due to weather/vehicle concerns and issues (they sent a cab for me), and been guilted in to coming in when I've been fairly sick, but I think if I have said flat out "I'm sick, I can't come in" they would have let me call out (with a doctor's note brought in the next day I worked, of course).

    I'm sure they get taken advantage of by people calling out when they're not really sick and I know it sucks to scramble for staffing at the last minute and that's why they're so hard on people calling in, but if someone is really, really sick, they need to be able to stay home, and not feel guilty about it.

    I'm sorry for your co-worker. I hope she doesn't get treated too poorly over this or lose her job. Definitely look into your facility's policies on call outs and disciplinary action. I'd think a resonable number of absences in a 6 month or year period with a doctor's notes shouldn't be punishable...
  4. 0
    This type of restriction happened at a place where I worked. People calling in were given the pager and home number of the administrator to call. The administrator would tell them to come in and have the nurse assess them, (take their vital signs), to see if they were, in fact, sick. People that didn't like this type of treatment, left for jobs elsewhere. The administrator never would have taken such a hard nose attitude if people had not been abusing the calling off practice to begin with. Most of them called off to work at their other job for more money or they were not sick and were actively playing games with their employer during a time of great unrest.
  5. 1
    It's classic. Healthcare employers always say all the right things (when it doesn't matter) about how you shouldn't come to work sick, etc., but many have policies about how often you can call in sick before you get in trouble. My employer has a firm policy that, if you're out sick (or for any other reason -- family emergency, etc.) more than three times in a year (however legitimate your illness or emergency may be), you get "counseled" (written up), and if it's more than five, you are at risk of being fired.

    The policy says that two or more consecutive days count as one absence (if you're out more than one day for the same illness) but they interpret that v. strictly -- I was out two days last year, but it happened that I was already scheduled for a day off between the two days. Same illness, but it got counted as two absences because of the scheduled day off in between.

    I've had other employers, though, who weren't as nasty as this one is.
    Poi Dog likes this.
  6. 0
    If I am unwell, I call in. I don't try to work sick.
    Last edit by JDZ344 on Nov 2, '14
  7. 0
    There really shouldn't be restrictions on calling-in. Working while sick is a HUGE infection control issue. The LTC Administration needs to remember that its employees are working with residents who may have compromised immune systems. What's a simple cold for an employee could be life-threatening if transmitted to certain residents. This scares me!

    I only wish there was an easy way to determine which employees truly are ill and those that are just abusing the system.
  8. 0
    The thing that gets me, though, is that this CNA didn't call out sick very often. We do have CNAs, though, who have called out because they started their period, or they have a headache, etc. Yet they never were threatened with their jobs.
  9. 3
    There is probably more to this story than you know. Employers can certainly establish rules for calling in sick, etc. Most employers have such rules and how, how often, for what reason, etc.

    However, what they can't do is make up rules arbitrarily that are different for one employee than for the others. Employers have to be consistent in how they treat various employees to avoid being charged with discrimination, etc. So, it is VERY unlikely that this employer simply made up a new rule that only applies to this one employee -- for no reason at all. Most likely, there has been a series of events that have led up to this colleague being given a warning that she needs to be on her best behavior or risk losing her job -- because she has had some problems in the past.

    As such issues are confidential, you probably don't know the whole story. The person doing the whining is only telling you the part of the story that reflects herself in good light. She's not telling you the other side of the story.
    skittlebear, elkpark, and eveningsky339 like this.
  10. 0
    Quote from llg
    There is probably more to this story than you know. Employers can certainly establish rules for calling in sick, etc. Most employers have such rules and how, how often, for what reason, etc.

    However, what they can't do is make up rules arbitrarily that are different for one employee than for the others. Employers have to be consistent in how they treat various employees to avoid being charged with discrimination, etc. So, it is VERY unlikely that this employer simply made up a new rule that only applies to this one employee -- for no reason at all. Most likely, there has been a series of events that have led up to this colleague being given a warning that she needs to be on her best behavior or risk losing her job -- because she has had some problems in the past.

    As such issues are confidential, you probably don't know the whole story. The person doing the whining is only telling you the part of the story that reflects herself in good light. She's not telling you the other side of the story.
    I agree, I'm probably not hearing the entire story from that one employee. Nor would I expect to!

    BUT, the fact remains-- she came into the facility while sick and contagious, and now a resident is sick (though the CNA did wear a face mask). I think the facility should be liable for such things.
  11. 0
    Quote from eveningsky339
    I agree, I'm probably not hearing the entire story from that one employee. Nor would I expect to!

    BUT, the fact remains-- she came into the facility while sick and contagious, and now a resident is sick (though the CNA did wear a face mask). I think the facility should be liable for such things.
    Agree with you on this. Sounds like the sick employee did not receive proper instructions. I was told to bring a doctor's note one time and the doctor made me stay out of the workplace for two additional days.


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