Social Media: Hooky Prevention Tool

By Jon Hyman

Oct. 27, 2014

In one of the better earlier episodes of The Office, the Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dwight Schrute, thinks that one of his co-workers is faking an illness to get out of work. So, he stakes out the employee’s house to investigate and uncover the truth.
According to a recent Harris Poll (h/t:, figuring out if your employees are cheating on their sick leave is no longer as complicated as a stake out, and is only as far away as a few clicks of your mouse. According to the poll, nearly a quarter of employers have caught their employees lying on social media about being sick. Of those caught, a quarter were fired, while half were disciplined or reprimanded.
Three observations:
     1. If you think an employee is abusing sick leave or other time off, a little investigation on social media appears to go along way to ferreting out the truth. You no longer need to go the Dwight-Schrute route to determine if an employee is lying to you about the reason he or she isn’t at work. You should be adding social media to your quiver of investigatory tools. Otherwise, you could be missing a key (and easy) piece of the puzzle.

     2. The employment relationship is based on trust. Once that trust disintegrates, the relationship is almost certainly unsalvageable. I’m almost as shocked that only 25% of employers who have caught an employee lying about sick leave fired the offending employee, as I am that that another 25% appear to ignore the indiscretion completely. While I agree that we need better time-off policies in this country, it is still no excuse for lying.

     3. Then again, if an employee is so reckless (or senseless) as to tell an employer one thing, and then post the exact opposite on Facebook or Twitter an hour later, maybe I don’t want that employee working for me anyway. Just saying.
Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at

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