So, You Have A “Sick” Employee


Employee who is always sickThe Sick Employee.  This employee calls in ‘sick’ at the most coincidental times – the day before the long weekend starts, the evening of the rock concert, etc.  He (she) is always the question mark you can never fully count on.

He is not always ‘sick’ of course, sometimes it’s his aging grandmother who has died (for the fourth time), or a sibling who’s in crisis. Whatever it is, it’s more important than coming to work.  Not only does his behavior have a negative impact on you – it’s also sending the message to the rest of the team that they and the company are not very high up on his priority list.  This makes it doubly important that you deal with it right away.

Make a List

Begin by keeping track of all the times your sick employee has missed his work obligation – make a list. Then arrange a brief meeting with him.  It is very important in your meeting that you don’t directly accuse him of lying to you (because she might not be!).  Instead, let him know that you’re noticing a “disturbing trend,” and that, while you can give him the benefit of the doubt for his past actions you need some assurances that his job will become a greater priority for him in the future.  If, after you’ve had your little talk, his behavior still continues, you may find yourself having to move to more serious action.

Look In The Mirror

One important note: If you find yourself with several chronically ‘sick’ employees, you may want to turn your gaze inward and re-examine your company’s policies.  There is a lot of research that links absenteeism with a poor work environment.  It is not uncommon for such employee behavior to be directly linked to inflexible or overly restrictive employment policies.

Good luck!

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