Employer too suspicious of medical leave following rejection of vacation request

Confusion over vacation request led to stress and anxiety for mine worker; worker observed doing landscape work while on medical leave for stress
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 08/20/2014

Employers have an invested interest in ensuring their workforce maintains acceptable levels of absenteeism. Too much absenteeism can have several negative effects, including increased costs to replace absent workers, decreased productivity, and low employee morale — not to mention the concern of having employees who are dishonest.

Many employers have attendance management programs to ensure absenteeism doesn’t become a problem and make sure employees aren’t abusing sick leave. But abuse of sick leave can become a grey area if there’s a disconnect between employers and employees as to what warrants sick leave. Before calling an employee on the carpet for improper use of sick leave, an employer should fully understand the reasons the employee is off work — and be careful not to act too hastily.