Trapped 

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“She did what?!?!??”

“She posted that she was going shopping with her mom all day and was taking a driving trip out of state to a family reunion. I printed it out for you.” My medical assistant handed over a stack of over a dozen papers, copies of the woman’s Facebook feed. “Last week she went water skiing.” 

I scanned over it. Sure enough. There were even photos. 

“The rest of the staff is very upset.”

“Understandably so…” Hell, I was upset.

“How could you let her do this?”

My hands are tied.

On her 91st day of employment the woman went out on leave because of back pain. No warning prior. A two week leave had now stretched into four months and counting. All of my staff was watching her gallivant around on Facebook. Meanwhile we were short staffed because I could not hire someone else for her position. HR was kind enough to point out that I could use a temp. Of course, instead of being the typical $15/hr that would cost me $25/hr on top of paying 75% of this other woman’s salary plus her benefits. 

I provided the Facebook postings to HR and was told they were irrelevant, that no one uses that sort of thing in these types of situations. 

That is not what CNN says, but whatever.

Finally, at six months, right before she would go onto long term disability and become corporate’s responsibility, we received word that she had been released to come back…

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119 thoughts on “Trapped 

  1. Victo, so where was the investigation? No evidence recorded of her activities? As a nurse manager I had back-up from HR/Disability group. An employee was off several weeks with a supposedly back injury from lifting a patient. Caught on video several times walking and getting in a car without any evidence of back pain. Pretty lively step too! It was hard for employee to dispute the evidence. This happens too often! Christine

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I had a similar experience teaching — some students cancelled my class (MY class!!) when a midterm was scheduled (long story; it’s on my blog somewhere). Later, trying to find out WHO had done this (it was reprehensible and heinous) I found them on Facebook. They were at a big rock concert (Coachella). I was chastened for looking at their Facebook page because it violated their privacy. That was the first knell on the bell signalling my retirement.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Why is it that I hear of so many stories of HR departments and workers comp not doing their job? They can’t turn a blind eye to social media. Good thing you didn’t have to deal with her for too long. This kind of stuff is partly why I retired early from my day job.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I get so frustrated with your posts, certainly not at/with you but with all the crap you, your staff and your patients often have to put up with. Is there nowhere in all of the 50 states that has some sort of honest, reliable, caring, comprehensive provider system that facilitates more wins all around than all this BS? Your stories just get worse and worse.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I get bolder and bolder dishing on the dirt, I guess! I have a couple of great employees but they get beaten down by having to pick up the slack from the other crap. I do not understand why people lose sight of what we are doing and why we are doing it, how all we are asking them to do is to treat patients like they would want their own loved ones treated. But they do.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh brother.
    I don’t even respond to comments on my blog except during lunch and off-work hours for fear I will be caught goofing off. Come to think of it, I’ve spent half my vacation working. Apparently I am really stupid.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. There are a few people around who will do that Victo. No matter how hard you try a few always get by screening. If your HR won’t deal with them then take it to your HO operations group and emphasize that she is costing profit. If their internal structure puts this cost on your head, then make it clear that you will not be held financially responsible for their HR’s lack of desire to act. I am glad that you got rid of her through a back door. Sometimes that is the easiest and most efficient way to go. Here in Canada. our Worker’s Compensation program that deals with all workplace injuries is very strict. I dislike their attitude for it harms those who are truly in pain and need help, but they are Machiavellian in their efforts to NOT pay benefits. They use facebook, investigators. neighbors’ testimony, everything. And if they find even one whiff that the person is screwing the system, they terminate benefits immediately and the person had to prove they are deserving of benefits – and that never happens. Que Sera.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They don’t care about profit. The profit is mine. So long as HQ is getting their cut across the board, their is very little in it for them. So they make it terribly difficult.

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      • That structure sucks if you don’t control your own HR Why should they be making decision that reduce your profitability? Tell them to take a hike, fire the person (with the right documentation) call HR and tell them to stop the paychecks, because the person no longer works there. 😛

        Ratbastards.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just a final thought that occurred to me: The profs in the MBA program kept coming back to one point, which they said they would never admit in public. That point was: Beware of companies that hold you responsible for profits, customer satisfaction or any other metric, that do not give you the authority to address the changes required to meet your responsibilities. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sorry, Victo. I’m sorry people allow evil to rule their actions, which is what both that employee and that HR staff chose to do. You remind me of everything I hated about the work world. (I work only part-time now, for the barest of a pittance, but deal with commensurately less evil–from that quarter–on a daily basis.)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, that is so sad. Some people read the rules and find an exact way to work the system to their advantage…and everyone else’s disadvantage. I like to think that karma comes back to get them in life.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, this is the kind of thing that overcooks my grits! Having been in the insurance industry for nearly twenty years I am still amazed by what people get away with. This is the side of insurance people don’t recognize- the amount of frivolous and bogus claims that are paid. I have often thought of switching to the claims investigation side, but I think it would only exacerbate my frustration level!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The frivolous, selfish makes it much harder on those who really need it. A patient today, who has metastatic cancer, told me that as she was talking to her leave rep a few days ago they asked her when she intended to be back at work. When she told them she didn’t know if she would ever be back, the individual said, “So we are probably going to be looking at terminating you?” Nooooo…. She might not be coming back because she might be dead but they don’t know that. Does not excuse being rude but the assumption now is that someone asking for leave is malingering…

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  10. What you should do, but I don’t think you will, is to post the link to her facebook and show everyone who she is and what she is. Don’t be slanderous ; be cryptic, “Come and work for us and if you are sick we will let you have time off to recover.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. (I haven’t read the comments so this is probably a repeat.) Well, that right there is one, pretty darned good reason why a lot of people would NOT do what you did for the other woman (yesterday’s post). Too many people are “what can I get from you?”

    In a similar conversation today at work, we talked about a woman who had been in my job who managed to get herself fired. This was with great disbelief, because, as everyone around the talk chimed in, in order to get fired from said employer, one would pretty much have to be selling meth from one’s desk. Sounds like you have a similar HR and policies.

    People. Ugh. :::hugs misanthropic summer weight blankie:::

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes it does. I was in charge of a 12 bed residential facility and inherited two people who ran the leave scam.

        They also used every last sick day.

        We were a staff of ten people so If employees called out and I couldn’t find a replacement I would have to work the shift. Hell hath no fury like a Program Director who had to work an Overnight shift after a sixteen hour day.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I am not sure who is in your HR department, but they suck wind!. I sit on the Worker’s Comp and Incident Review Committee. We see it all. But our comp carrier is like a bullterrier. She wanted us to use our escorts to do private investigation on someone and she would follow up and term their worker’s comp. The FB pages should have been sent to the carrier. You really have an terrible HR department…. is it part of a bigger affiliation?
    And …your not going to like this….but one of the biggest issues are doctors who sign off on these employees saying yes, they are still unable to fulfill their duties.
    We term them after a while (six months usually) as we do not have anything to accommodate them with,..soooo bye bye! If they are out that long, they can apply to SSI…try that walk in the park… NOT!
    As long as the system feeds into this, it will continue. But doctors need to say, “hell no girlfriend, get your ass back to work!”
    For as much as we have the potential for injury, the only really expensive cases are disgruntle employees who play the system. We have one case over a Million in medical costs, legal fees and other crap. And she has someone signing her off. She dropped a patient in a Hoyer and somehow hurt her back…. HER back? Faulty machine…on and on it goes.
    When people wonder while medical care cost so much, its because of insurance for malpractice and workers comp.
    (OK, I’m done ranting)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are absolutely right. You bet I noted the name of the physician signing her notes and he never saw another referral from my practice again. Not that it made that much difference. Once word gets out all of the malingerers probably flock to him.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Everything has already been said, and I can only sadly agree… 😦
    It seems all the ‘ideals’ and morals I was taught as a child (such as: work honestly & diligently and you will surely be recognised/treat others with respect and you will in turn be treated the same way/don’t be conniving or betray your friends & colleagues, etc…) do not work in the Real World. So it makes me wonder, what is the ‘right way?’ Still trying to figure it out…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know. It feels like that doesn’t it? Don’t lose your integrity, though. Don’t let yourself be swallowed up by cynicism. There is still room in this world for honesty, diligence, and respect.

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  14. Hmm…
    I can tell you that Facebook postings seem to be eliminating the need for surveillance (the now old-fashioned way of disproving bogus disability claims). Courts now allow them to be discovered and used as evidence (even when the claimant isn’t stupid enough to share them with the co-workers she’s scamming).

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  15. I hope you have an appropriate welcome in store for her. This reminds me of a news story I saw about a bus accident. Remote security cameras filmed people boarding the bus after the accident and then claiming they’d been on board prior to the wreck. They tried to sue the bus company but wound up in jail for insurance fraud. In the words of Charles Bukowski, “Humanity, you sick mothereffer.”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That’s odd that they wouldn’t consider that valid. Perhaps it’s different from state to state, but here in Florida, in personal injury AND work comp lawsuits, the courts rely HEAVILY on people’s social network admissions, especially when there are photos to back it up. Not to mention that it created a hostile work environment for the remaining employees.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. HR does not want to face legal situations where it can be made liable for costs based on “wrong” procedures.

    If you want to effectively tell “such people” to leave, confront them politely with the situation and gently rub the salt in the wound until it stings and instead of anaesthetics there is only a cup of tea or coffee. When “such people” really worsened their own work situation they find the door themselves…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I had a friend who went on “disability” when pregnant because she had a lot of “pain”. So much so she went on trips to Canada, and drove to her moms house from CT. -_- needless to say I’m no longer friends with a person like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Did a little time in the past as a Worker’s Comp medical case manager. Yep – just bypass HR and call us people – we love sniffing out the malingerers and calling them out! Hadn’t heard the term malinger in years -aghh! ( One of the reasons I had to get back in the clinical setting)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh dear, I’ve seen dozens of those in my days as HR director. And sent quite a few of them away. Lots of work and guts required, and one doesn’t always win, but 10 out of a dozen is pretty satisfactory.

    Liked by 1 person

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