Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 28
  1. #1 The Sick-Day Bounty Hunters 
    The Sick-Day Bounty Hunters

    As an alarming number of workers play hooky, corporations are clamping down—and calling in the detectives

    By Eric Spitznagel

    December 6, 2010

    Rick Raymond parked his black Kia SUV behind a row of trees and peered out at his target. It was 4 a.m. on a recent morning, and Raymond—a seasoned private detective who has worked roughly 300 cases, from thieves to philandering spouses—was closing in on a different sort of prey. Recently, Raymond has come to occupy a new and expanding niche in the surveillance universe. Corporations pay him to spy on workers who take "sick days" when they may not, in fact, be sick. Such suspicion has led Raymond to bowling alleys, pro football games, weddings, and even funerals. On this morning it has taken him to a field outside the home of an Orlando repairman whose employer is doubtful about his slow recovery from a car accident. Although Raymond tries to be impartial about his subjects, "80 to 85 percent of the time," he says, "there's definitely fraud happening."

    Playing hooky without getting caught—as immortalized in the cat-and-mouse skirmish between Ferris Bueller and Principal Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off—used to be an adolescent rite of passage. Now it has given rise to a thriving industry, with stern legal precedent to back it up. In 2008, Raybestos Products, a car parts manufacturer in Crawfordsville, Ind., hired an off-duty police officer to track an employee suspected of abusing her paid medical leave. When the employee, Diana Vail, was fired after the cop produced substantial evidence that she was exploiting her benefits, she sued Raybestos. In what became the landmark case for corporate snooping, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed her lawsuit. A panel of judges declared that while surveillance "may not be preferred employer behavior," it wasn't unlawful. According to Susan W. Kline, a partner at the Baker & Daniels law firm in Indianapolis, the case "encouraged [companies] to consider hiring their own private detectives." It also set a precedent, she says, that "reasonable suspicion" is sufficient justification for employer spying.

    Such techniques have become permissible at a time when workers are more likely to play hooky. Kronos, a workforce productivity firm in Chelmsford, Mass., recently found that 57 percent of U.S. salaried employees take sick days when they're not really sick—a nearly 20 percent increase from statistics gathered between 2006 and 2008. Taking such risks amid an economic meltdown, suggests Kronos Senior Director Joyce Maroney, has less to do with foolish confidence than a general lack of enthusiasm for work. "People are staying in jobs they don't like because of a fear that there won't be another job out there," she says. "With less job satisfaction, there's a greater propensity for sick-time abuse."

    That's great news for the corporate surveillance business. Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group, a private investigation firm in Clifton Park, N.Y., with experience in corporate sleuthing, charges $75 per hour per investigator. And those hours add up. According to Alliance Chief Executive Officer and founder Mario Pecoraro Jr., successful surveillance requires establishing a pattern of activity that, he says, "can sometimes require multiple days, or even weeks."

    Perhaps this is because workers have become increasingly inventive with their sick-day tomfoolery. This summer, Middletown (Pa.) schoolteacher Leslie Herneisey—a three-time Teacher of the Year nominee—was arrested and charged with lying to colleagues about having an inoperable brain tumor so she could take extended sick leave. In 2009 four firefighters in Haverhill, Mass., were suspended after a private investigator, hired by the mayor, caught them attending hockey games and engaging in other blatantly non-sick-day activities.

    They are not alone in their ambition. Earlier this year, Raymond investigated an employee at a Florida health organization who called in sick with the flu for three days. As Raymond discovered, she was actually visiting the Universal Studios theme park. "On some of those roller coasters, they take your picture at a really sharp turn, and then you can buy it at a kiosk," Raymond recalls. "She went on three rides, and I bought all three of her pictures, which had the date at the bottom." When confronted with the evidence by her employers, Raymond says her first response was, "That's not me!" After they played Raymond's video of her volunteering at the theme park's animal show, her only defense was, "I don't even remember that!" She was fired.
    More at the link.

    Business Week
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2. #2  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,000
    If companies allow employees to have sick days, then I can see them getting sued pretty badly for this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  3. #3  
    Power CUer NJCardFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    16,290
    The state of NJ is going to be cracking down on sick days again. A few years ago, they used to require you to be home to get a sick call verification but they did away with it. But, according to the union, starting next year, if the state designates a day as a "significant event" i.e. Super Bowl Sunday, they will require a doctors note if you call out 2 days before or 2 days after including the day. Same with the start and end of your vacation or scheduled days off. Funny thing is that this will end up costing the state a fortune because in order to get a doctors note, most doctors require you to come in for a visit and pay the co-pay.
    The Obama Administration: Deny. Deflect. Blame.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #4  
    Power CUer noonwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Warren, MI
    Posts
    12,859
    I would guess that companies aren't hiring PIs to investigate every employee who calls in sick on a given day, only those who have some kind of pattern or other reason for the employer to be suspicious.


    Like the woman who asked for extended sick leave for a brain tumor-I couldn't do that without some pretty extensive documentation from the doctor. Or the one who went to Universal Studios-I'll bet the boss had some reason to suspect she was up to something. If we call in more than 3 consecutive days, we are expected to have a note from the doctor. Incidentally, I've never been asked for one, though. I had surgery and took two weeks off once, and although I offered to give my supervisor the documentation, she took my word for it. I also missed 4 days once from a stomach bug, and the supervisor I had at the time also didn't ask for any documentation. This is because I don't call in sick all that often.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #5  
    Grouchy Old Broad Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Midland, Tx
    Posts
    3,699
    Where I work, we get x number of PTO (personal time off) days that accrue monthly. You have to use that for your vacation AND sick time. It's up to you how you spend it, but it all comes out of the same basket.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #6  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Woodland Park, Colorado, United States
    Posts
    8,563
    As union influence grows and government expands, and both will continue under the O Blah Blah administration, this will be more rampant. Look to domestic surveillance as the next unintended consequence and new jobs sector. Thanks to DUmmyRAT "leadership."
    Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
    C. S. Lewis
    Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. (Are you listening Barry)?:mad:
    Ayn Rand
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Kay View Post
    Where I work, we get x number of PTO (personal time off) days that accrue monthly. You have to use that for your vacation AND sick time. It's up to you how you spend it, but it all comes out of the same basket.
    This is the sensible way to do it and non-union companies are all moving in this direction. Who cares why you're off? The time is part of your total compensation just like your salary is - it's not some kind of special gift from Mommy that you're only supposed to use with parental supervision.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #8  
    Zoomie djones520's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    10,079
    Thats how sick days work for us. We don't call in sick. We get put on quarters by the doctor. 9 years I have had a total of 4 sick days.

    1 due to an infection after oral surgery, 3 due to the flu.
    In most sports, cold-cocking an opposing player repeatedly in the face with a series of gigantic Slovakian uppercuts would get you a multi-game suspension without pay.

    In hockey, it means you have to sit in the penalty box for five minutes.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #9  
    PORCUS MAXIMUS Rockntractor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    oklahoma
    Posts
    42,426
    Most of the time when I call in sick I'm to much of an asshole to let myself off!:mad:
    The difference between pigs and people is that when they tell you you're cured it isn't a good thing.
    http://i.imgur.com/FHvkMSE.jpg
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #10  
    Senior Member Madisonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Peoples Democratic Socialist Republic of Michiganistanovia
    Posts
    2,417
    Quote Originally Posted by djones520 View Post
    1 due to an infection after oral surgery.
    I thought having one's foot removed from one's mouth would be considered podiatry.:D
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •