DEAR MOMENTS OF FOCUS: My employee asked about a day off to take care of a home
matter. When he learned he couldn’t take a vacation day, he called in sick. Is it ethical to
let him take a sick day?
DEAR MANAGER: When an employee has a sick day that is available on record and wants to take it in lieu of an unapproved vacation day, there are no immediate actions that should be taken that would be beneficial to the company. When ethics are considered in a professional environment they can only be based on the company’s existing rules and regulations. Ethics, unlike morals, are not based on what we feel but by what has been set forth as a company standard. Therefore, it is crucial that every company, no matter the size or number of employees, has an employee handbook that stipulates the terms and expectations within the employee agreement. Making too big of a deal out of a first time“offense” can backfire and cause your employee to feel as though it is a personal attack. They may report that they were harassed about taking a day that was rightfully theirs based on the regulations that have been set forth by the company. My advice is to create an incident report for your files. This may only be a one-time thing. However, if it is something that reoccurs, you will have a record that you can later build a case on.