Companies spy on workers who pretend to be sick

Companies spy on workers who pretend to be sickIn the movie "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,"

Ferris fools his parents so he can ditch school. Things have gotten more complicated.
The number of employees playing hooky has increased, with one study showing that "57% percent of U.S. salaried employees take sick days when they’re not really sick."

Employee Diana Vail was fired from her job at Raybestos Products because the company caught her exploiting her paid medical leave by spying on her. She sued. But an appeals court found that her company’s surveillance, while not preferred, was lawful. After that precedent was set, more companies began to hire private detectives if they found reasonable suspicion of fraud.

There’s a kind of technological arms race going on between some employers and their employees. Some of the weapons include employer-issued phones with GPS tracking systems, technology that spoofs caller ID, and products that purport to detect a lying voice. But the best proof may still be in old-fashioned surveillance. Rick Raymond is a private detective:

"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."

The Sick-Day Bounty Hunters – As an alarming number of workers play hooky, corporations are clamping downand calling in the detectives, Bloomberg Businessweek>>

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