to question employee?(23 Posts)
So first of all, I already basically know I am being unreasonable but wanted some opinions.
I'm the manager of a shop and back in April one of the girls who works for me told me that from May she'd be needing a week off every 6-8 weeks for a medical treatment that would require a week of down time each time. Of course it is not up to myself or anyone else to question this or ask what the treatment is so I told her it would be fine..which so far it has been.
She last had a week off at the end of August and her next treatment is booked in for the end of October but she has just today informed me that she saw her doctor last week who has said she needs to go back in on Thursday and will again need a few days off.
Now I am not in any way suggesting she is lying. She's a lovely girl, a very hard worker and I know she is trying to save up money to go travelling so I know she wouldn't just lose out on pay just for some time off of work but I guess out of curiosity I am really starting to wonder what these treatments are. I actually suspect it is a cosmetic treatment rather than medical. She's gorgeous but does have bad acne and acne scarring. I've actually noticed over the past few months how much better her acne scarring is starting to look. My brother had terrible scarring and had a series of laser treatments that left his face swollen and bruised for a few days each time and I just have a feeling this is may be what she is having done.
If that IS the case I understand her not wanting to tell anyone..or if this isn't the case..what type of medical treatments could work like this ? Can anyone think of anything? It just seems strange to me that she suddenly needs to go back in on Thursday when she already has her next treatment booked for October?
Feel free to tell me I am being a nosey parker.
Surely she would have had to provide proof of the medical treatment to get the time off work?
I have an auto-immu5disease that requires me to go into hospital every 6-8 weeks for a drug infusion to help manage my disease. Could be something like this? If she's using steroids in conjunction to her treatment they will improve her skin, they do mine.
A friend of mine (ex colleague actually) had problems with her back. She used to use a wheelchair in the past when she was struggling. She now has injections into her back every three months iirc and with these she can walk normally and manage her pain. She doesn't like to talk about her problems and seems totally healthy between injections. However after each shot she can need up to four days rest.
As her manager why don't you ask for proof of hospital appointment? It's reasonable to ask so you have dates and times. I have to provide them for an ongoing condition. My managers don't know my problem, but know which clinic I visit st the hospital.
When I was a manager of a call centre I'd have wanted medical certificates for absences like that. The company rule was if anyone had more than 4 days off in any 12 months they had to provide certificates.
Can you not ask for such proof?
Reading your post, she's taking unpaid leave as opposed to paid leave for this? So no certificate, etc.
You've also said you want to satisfy your own curiosity....
I'd be guided any other staff you have - if they feel they're being put upon or disadvantaged by her absence, you might have grounds to ask her how long it will go on for.
Otherwise, if you are happy to let her continue, you don't really have a need to know, unless her contract says different. I have to give a reason for any absence at all, paid or unpaid.
well I know she goes to Hammersmith hospital. I've overheard a couple of conversations and a while back she asked if it would be ok to have her phone on her because she was expecting a call and when she answered it I could hear her talking about appointment dates etc. So I am 99.9% sure she's telling the truth. I just can't think what the problem could be but these few suggestions sounds reasonable.
If it is a cosmetic problem what are your thoughts on that? She is using up her 28 days holiday which she is entitled too but at the same time if it is not urgent medical problems should I be slightly stricter about having the time off? I'm really torn here.
If she is having treatment to scarring, it's clearly because it affects her confidence. Tread lightly.
I agree. I know she does have self esteem issues as we've had a few personal conversations about her social anxiety etc. She's never mentioned her skin but I suppose she wouldn't want to draw more attention to it. That is why I feel a bit torn because if this time off is for a cosmetic treatment I know that her skin must really affect her so I want to allow for her to have these treatments. It's just not always easy covering these days off. She's already told me she will need between 6-8 "treatments" and she's had 3 so far.
As you have no reason to doubt her and she has a good track record, she's not inconvencing you or her colleagues and she's taking unpaid leave I'd let it go. If she was comfortable with you knowing she'd have told you and to be honest it's going against her (unexpressed) wishes for you to guess. I'd be a bit mortified/upset if I were her and discovered you'd gone behind my back to try and find out my private business to be honest.
You have said that she's a lovely girl and a hard worker. You've also said that you are sure that she really is having treatment and that she's using up holiday time. It doesnt sound as though she's taking the p. She hasn't said what the treatment is so even if it is cosmetic it's not as though she's misled you. If I was in your shoes I'd also be wary of deciding what kind of treatment is and isn't worthy of time of unless I had knowledge of such things (ie an acute understanding of her physical and mental health). I agree with mineofuselessinfo tread carefully.
If she's a hardworker then really what's the harm especially if shes using holiday and taking days unpaid. Far better that than an employee who is a slacker and always pulling sickies.
You sound terribly judgey.
The poor girl.
She's got bad acne and social anxiety. If the treatment is for acne, then good for her. If it isn't for acne, then it's up to her what she does with her annual leave.
Infusions and recovery for autoimmune conditions are more common than you think and lots of illnesses can mean taking medications that can cause havoc with your skin, so that could be why it looks like it is now improving. Why don't you just ask her - as her manager you should be checking to see if there are any adjustments you need to put in place to help her if she has a long term illness.
You sound terribly judgey.
I was actually just thinking the OP was sounding a lot more understanding than most employers in this situation.
I'm getting mixed responses- some saying to ask her and that they'd want "proof" and others of you saying to leave her to it. I think I will go for the 2nd option. She IS a hardworker but I also know she suffers from anxiety issues. I really never meant to be judgemental I guess curiosity just got the better of me.
Thanks for all the input
If she is using her holiday for this then you won't need proof will you, as people can use their holidays as they wish. Of course holidays are discretionary so may effect business.
If she is having medical treatment then would she have to use holiday for this or special leave for medical reasons?
As she had mentioned medical treatment have you asked her if you, as an employer, need to be aware of it? If she collapsed at work would you not need to make paramedics / first aiders aware of any conditions?
What would you do with the information? If it's just to be nosey then no don't ask. If it's to allows her time off paid (which in my work we might do depending on what it is) then ask.
The only way it would be acceptable (imo) to ask for more detail would be if you felt she shouldn't have to be using all of her holidays.
She's never mentioned anything that I should be aware of. When she first mentioned the treatments I of course asked if she was ok and if there was anything I could do to help and she said she was fine so I suppose at that point she would have mentioned if it was something I should know.
I suppose she's just a private person and perhaps doesn't want to tell anyone so she doesn't get any pity or constant "are you ok?"
if it's medical why does she have to take treatment time as holiday?
Are you sure you shouldn't be allowing the time off as sick?
that was her choice as she doesn't want to lose out on money
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