Thursday, April 16, 2020

Coronavirus update 4-16-2020: FBI warns companies about employees faking coronavirus diagnoses

Given the amount of time I spend on this blog pointing out the awful things that employers do to their employees, I thought I’d flip the script and focus my glare on a group of horrible employees.

According to CNN, the FBI has advised businesses that employees are faking positive coronavirus diagnoses with phony doctors’ notes and other fraudulent documentation.

Why would employees do such a thing? For a paid vacation, of course.

But that’s not the only expense that employers incur when an employee fake-tests positive. In one example cited in the FBI’s report, a critical manufacturer shut down operations after an employee submitted the fake positive test, costing the company over $175,000 in cleaning and sanitizing costs, lost production, and paid time off for other “exposed” employees.

What steps can you take if you think an employee is faking a coronavirus diagnosis?

  • Pay attention to inconsistencies on notes and other documents in fonts and spacing, or grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Look for computer-generated, versus hand signatures. 
  • Compare legitimate medical excuse letters from health care providers to be aware of their typical format and structure.
  • Contact the medical provider to authenticate the document (after first providing the employee the opportunity to authenticate).

If you confirm that the employee has lied to you, fire him or her immediately. No questions asked. And while I’m not a huge fan of employers suing employees for losses that flow from the events that cause their termination, I’m thinking I’ll be recommending an exception if one of these cases crosses my desk.

At 8 pm tonight, I'll be talking about these and other coronavirus issues on DriveThru HR. You can listen live here.

* Photo by Taras Chernus on Unsplash