Surveys tend to show a high percentage of Canadians fake sick from
work, sometimes for pretty frivolous reasons. But what happens if your
boss checks up on you and catches you in a lie? The consequences can be
more serious than you might expect.
A recent example comes from Alberta where a Court of Appeal
decision upheld the firing of a Telus worker, who had called in too sick
to work but not too sick to play softball.
In 2011, Telus technician Jarrod Underwood requested a day off to play
in a slo-pitch tournament, but was turned down because there were too
many appointments and not enough other workers to cover for him that
On the morning of the tournament, Underwood contacted his boss that
he couldn’t work “due to unforeseen circumstances.” Understandably
suspicious, his boss took a trip to the tournament and spotted Underwood
pitching. When confronted, Underwood claimed he was sick and first
denied playing, then said he could manage his symptoms on the field but
not in a client’s home. Telus promptly terminated him.
An arbitrator said the firing was unreasonable, but Alberta’s Court
of Appeal overturned that decision. Among the factors influencing the
decision was an “irreparably damaged” trust relationship between
employer and employee.
Faking sick could lead to a termination with cause, since lying to
your employer could be interpreted as breach of contract. Failing to
work your mandated days is another violation of our employment
agreement. Then, you’re likely ineligible for EI benefits since your
unemployment is technically your fault.
Considering some of the ridiculous excuses that some workers provide
for taking a sick day, it’s likely that they’re not thinking of the
consequences. But as more employers demand a doctor’s note and become
more adept at social-media monitoring, malingering workers should
How to tell if you have a wrongful dismissal claim
Telus Communications Inc. v. Telecommunications Workers Union
Your employer can fire you for calling in sick if you're lying and get caught