Commentary

Bosses Catch Employees Playing Hooky With Social Media

Slackers, beware! In olden days it was enough to call in with a husky voice and a couple of moderately convincing coughs and sniffles whenever you wanted to take a spurious “sick day.” But now social media offers a whole new way for your boss to check up on you, according to a new survey of 2,578 hiring and human resource managers and 3,100 employees conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder.

Over a third of bosses, 34%, said they have used social media to catch an employee playing hooky while claiming to be sick. Within this group, 27% said they then fired the employee, but most were lenient, with 55% of the social media sleuths saying they simply gave the employee a verbal reprimand.

In fact, the threat of social media surveillance may explain a slight decrease in the number of employees taking the day off. Overall 35% of employees said they have taken a fake sick day, down from 38% last year. Word to the wise, folks: You can still play hooky as long as you don’t post anything to social media (hard to imagine, I know).

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CareerBuilder also asked employers the most bizarre excuses they’ve heard for employees calling in sick. There were some awesome responses. For some reason, many seemed to involve animals: One employee had to serve as a pallbearer for a pet funeral, another had to care for her sick llama, and then there was the one bitten by a duck. Crazy world.

Of course, just because you show up to work doesn’t mean you’re going to, like, do any. Last month a survey by Sprout Social found that 67% of workers said they regularly use social media on the job, with one out of five respondents admitting that social media distractions have a negative impact on their productivity.

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