It’s a dilemma every business owner or manager faces regularly.  An employee calls in sick.  They feel horrible.  They would like to come in but they simply can’t.  They are sorry. They know this means you will be shorthanded.  You tell your sick employee not to worry about it.  After all, that is why the business offers sick days to the employees. You push through the day.  It’s crazy! You don’t even get a lunch break. 

Later that evening when you finally make it home, you peruse social media and there you see it.  Your “sick” employee is posting selfies of themselves at a concert.  You first instinct in your exhausted state is to march into work the next day and fire the employee.  However, in today’s world of social media, is the lesson for managers interacting with employees really more about boundaries versus enforcing attendance guidelines?

There’s nothing more frustrating than finding out we’ve been lied to, especially when we find out via social media! Modern day Human Resources is both burdened and made more accessible by technology and it can be challenging to navigate. Anytime you’re faced with a new Human Resources challenge, it’s important to take a beat and really think through your next steps. One of the golden rules of Human Resources is to be consistent so take the time you need to really think through the precedent you are about to set. Do you really want to be spending time scouring Facebook every time an employee calls in sick? It’s one thing to bust an employee who often abuses the policy but what happens when you find out that one of your star performers has violated the policy? Are you willing to hold that employee accountable in the same way? What if that cause a rift (or worse, a claim of discrimination) and they leave the organization?

Let’s look at this from a different angle. We absolutely want good relationships between managers and employees, but do we want those relationships to be so close that they are connected on Facebook? Maintaining a professional relationship with those you may someday have to discipline is key to successfully managing employees. Consider implementing a policy where managers are only allowed to connect with employees via professional social media networks, if at all. The bottom line is there are a variety of ways that you could handle the situation. Consider the ongoing maintenance of the approach you take, develop a solid plan that you can easily replicate (exceptions may apply) and don’t create more work for yourself. As they say, choose your battles.

Do you have a situation with an employee you would like to discuss with an attorney? Maybe you need some help crafting some attendance policies for your business? Give us a call at 505-715-5700 or order a consult today!

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