Remember the stories about employers sneaking around, taking photos of their workers gardening while they were supposed to be on sick leave? In the latest twist on employer spying, an article in The National Law Journal says some employers are once again going the Magnum, P.I. route. Convinced that workers are abusing Family Medical Leave Act, they are hiring private investigators to help prove it. (FMLA is the law that lets you take up to three months off for childbirth or family illness)
Employee rights attorneys are calling the surveillance harassment. Chicago attorney Charles Siedlecki has a claim against AT& T and says, "I don't think people on medical leave should have to be afraid that if they leave their house, that if they run out to get a pizza, that they're going to be fired." Arguing against that, management attorneys say that by using surveillance , employers are sending a stern message to workers seeking FMLA leave: "We're not just going to take you word for it.'' (Apparently one employer's surveillance has caught an employee on medical leave for migraines out bowling and mowing lawns.)
So far, it's not looking good for employees who are fighting back. For now, courts appear to siding with employers, the article says.
I definitely would not want my employer sneaking around spying on me. But I do realize some workers think FMLA is a golden ticket to the movies while the employer must hold their job open for them for three months. What do you think about this latest strategy to keep workers honest? Is it going too far? Or has it become necessary in this land of sneaky employees?