One of the employees who I supervise recently had to begin three weeks off from work due to a medical problem. Her doctor signed forms saying she had to have the time off because she was “temporarily disabled” and unable to engage in any work activities. On the second day of her purported disability, I went to the grocery store and saw my employee pushing a full shopping cart. I confronted her and asked how she was doing. She became flustered and said she was getting supplies for a family gathering. Based on the fact she was out and about plus her reaction makes me conclude that she falsified her request for a medical leave, but my boss disagrees. He says her paperwork was in order so I need to let it go. How do I convince my manager not to wimp out on this?
— Rules Enforcer
Fire the slacker! She should have stayed home with the curtains drawn while she silently suffered. How dare she venture out into the big wide world? Who ever heard of a disabled person shopping, anyway? Oh yeah. The people who require or who install these signs:
If you fire her, keep me posted about what happens next. I love good litigation stories.
— Evil Skippy
Unless your employee usually works as a personal shopper or the medical certification said something like “This patient is unable to get out of bed or stand for more than five minutes and is confined to home”, you need to relax. The fact that she was out grocery shopping is not necessarily inconsistent with her need for a medical leave. The fact that she became flustered may be due to your “confrontation” as opposed to a guilty conscience.
Then again, we all know that a few employees misuse medical leave benefits. If you truly suspect that your employee is one of them, tell your manager you would like to inform human resources (or whatever department manages medical leaves at your workplace) about what you saw. With their input, your manager and you can decide if you need to obtain a clarification from the doctor or the employee – or to just move on.