‘He wants a sick note does he?’ Kid Drags Himself To The Doctor And Ends Up Getting Two Weeks Paid Vacation After An Epic Sick Note
by Trisha Leigh
There are too many employers who make people’s lives difficult when they try to call in sick – even when the employee in question is a good, reliable worker who is not known to lie.
OP is one of those good employees, but on this occasion, he had caught a pretty terrible bug.
I posted this but it got removed and I think it was maybe because I didn’t make the malicious compliance clear enough , so I’m going to try again and make it extra clear.
When I was in my early twenties, I worked at a supermarket. I should note that I was a pretty reliable employee. I was never late, in fact, I often got in early, and I rarely called in sick. At the time this happened, I had not called in sick for 9 months, and even then, the manager had sent me home.
I had been up all night, swinging between burning hot and freezing cold so I was obviously feverish, and I had been throwing up ‘at both ends’ shall we say. At one point at about 2 am I was on the toilet, with my head in the sink, utterly miserable.
I must have passed out because the next thing I knew I was lifting my head off the sink and it was 7 am. I was due to start work at 12 that day but that obviously wasn’t going to happen.
When he called in to tell his manager he couldn’t come in, the guy informed him that he’d better be there, get a doctor’s note, or be fired.
So I called up the manager. Let’s call the manager Steve. Steve was known for being a real jerk. He never believed anyone who called in sick except his best buds (usually other managers, never lowly staff), but often called in sick himself (a lot of the time we knew it was because he was hungover and not actually sick). The conversation went as follows:
Me: Hey Steve, sorry, I can’t come in. I’m sick.
Steve: With what?
Me: I don’t know. I think it might be the flu. I’ve been up all night being sick, and I have a fever.
Steve: Don’t be stupid. If you had the flu you’d be completely knocked out. I need you in. Come in or you’re fired.
Me: I can’t. I just told you I can’t stop vomiting. I passed out.
Steve: (growling angrily) Either come in or bring a doctors note, or you’re fired!
In the UK, you are legally allowed to self-certify for 5 days. This means you can tell your employer you are sick and you do not need a doctors note. If you’re sick for more than 5 days, you then need a note. It is also illegal to demand a doctors note during the self-certify period.
So, despite feeling like death, OP dragged himself to the doctor. The doctor was upset, as he was meant to deal with colds and flus at home, but quickly took OP’s side when he told her about his manager.
I knew this, but I was terrified. This was during the recession. I couldn’t afford to lose my job. So I got myself dressed. Almost passed out trying to do so. Then trudged to the doctors some 25 minutes walk away.
I end up sitting in the doctor’s office for a little over an hour, which for walk-in was pretty good. I get in to see the doctor and she is furious at me for coming in. You’re not supposed to come to the doctors when you have a cold or flue, and of course I knew I should be able to self certify. She told me as such, saying I shouldn’t be here and should have stayed at home.
I then explained what had happened with Steve and how he had threatened to fire me over this and I couldn’t afford to lose my job – I was struggling as it was. My doctor turned her anger towards my manager. She asked if I got sick pay from the company, and I said yes.
Instead of writing him a note for a few days off she wrote it for a few weeks, ensuring he would be paid to stay home for long enough to teach the manager a lesson.
“He wants a sick note does he,” the doctor says. “Okay. I’ll give him a sick note.”
Now, my manager just wanted a note confirming I was sick, but instead my doctor wrote something along the lines of this:
‘[My Name] has come to the surgery because [manager name] has insisted she come in, in spite of the fact that this is illegal and all employees are allowed to self certify. Due to being forced to make this unnecessary and highly dangerous trip when the patient is ill, has a fever of 39°C, and almost passed out in the waiting room, I am signing [my name] off for two full weeks to recover. Had [my name] been allowed to self certify as is the law, they might only have needed a few days, but due to straining themselves, they now require two full weeks. They are not to be permitted to work until [date 2 weeks later]’
The doctor said she would have signed me off longer but this was the longest she could do without requiring further evidence. So basically, instead of just being off for a few days, I was now signed off for a full two weeks, and I’d be paid for it.
OP took the note to the store where the manager tried to say he wasn’t serious about the getting fired thing.
I went to my place of work, at which point one of the duty managers saw me and asked me what the heck I was doing here, go home, I was obviously very unwell. I explained what happened. They agreed to help me downstairs to Steve’s office and went with me inside.
I handed Steve the note. He looked worried and tried to say ‘I wasn’t being serious about firing you.’
Well gee, when you angrily growled it down the phone it sure sounded like it.
The duty manager then declared that they were going to drive me home. It was clear Steve wanted to argue but had the sense to know he shouldn’t.
The duty manager then drove me home, made sure I was okay, then went back to work where they informed our union rep of what had happened.
The manager was reprimanded and OP got his two weeks off for pay – and I imagine the manager never made someone get a note for a bad cold again.
Steve had a disciplinary hearing where he was given a severe reprimand and a warning. Steve tried to argue he never said I’d be fired and I was lying and just decided to go to the doctors, but the duty manager said they heard him admit to it when he said to me that he really didn’t mean it.
I felt better after a few days, and enjoyed my two weeks off, fully paid, and enjoyed the nice weather we had. Meanwhile, Steve was forced to work overtime because we were short-staffed.
So thanks to the doctor, instead of being off for a few days, I ended up getting a nice two week paid vacation, and Steve was given a final warning, all because he insisted I get a doctors note.
Reddit is going to give this kid a high-five, I just know it!
The top comment is happy that the second manager stuck up for OP.
This person is glad there were consequences for the bad manager.
They point out that was the manager did was definitely against the law.
Managers are good at covering their butts.
Canada is out there fighting the good fight.
I wish it was this easy in the US.
It’s never going to be, I don’t think.