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Employee called in sick, but was at the bar Florida

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  • Employee called in sick, but was at the bar Florida

    We have an employee who has a head injury (staples). He called in sick yesterday because he said the staples were bleeding. At around noon the deaprtment manager drove by a bar that the employee frequents and saw his car; when he went inside the employee was at the bar drinking. The manager asked the employee if he enjoyed his day off and left without a response (not the right way to handle it I know...). Later yesterday evening the manager went to his own favorite bar (to relax after a long day) and the employee was there as well, still drinking. When I came to work this morning the employee had called in sick stating that the staples were still bleeding, so he needed another day off.

    My question is this: can we terminate his employment since he called in sick when he was really at a bar? Im not sure what the legalities are since technically while not on property, we cant dictate what employees are allowed to do. Thanks.

  • #2
    Florida is an at-will state. You can fire the employee for any reason not specifically prohibited by law. I can assure you that in no state is an employer prohibited from firing an employee for suspicion of falsification.

    While you may not be able to dictate to the employees what they may do while they are not at work, that doesn't mean that they cannot be fired for actions they take outside of work.

    That being said, being at a bar drinking does not necessarily mean that the staples were not bleeding. I'd at least give the employee a chance to tell his side of the story first. Then, if you don't find it creditable, there is nothing preventing you from firing him.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Per my ref. this is what Fl. says about off duty conduct:

      No statutory provision deals directly with the issue, but case law has established that some off duty conduct (ie tobacco use) may properly be used to make employment decisions. Covered employers - all employers

      In this case, I would follow cbg's suggestion.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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