Does this scenario sound familiar?
A cleaning company has an employee signed off sick for 2 weeks with stress. As required by law, the company paid the employee Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
At the end of the 2 weeks, a further Fit Note was provided for 1 month. In this situation the company had a HR professional in charge of these matters. They tried to contact the employee as she had not spoken to anyone while off, but eventually had a call back from the employee’s partner to say that she was too unwell to speak to anyone.
1 month later a further Fit Note arrived for another month. However, there were rumours circulating at the company, suggesting that the employee may actually be working somewhere else. This is what we’d refer to as employee moon-lighting.
Their HR professional invited the employee to a meeting to understand more about her condition, to see if she had any plans for returning to work and if there was any support that the company could provide. The day before the meeting was due to take place, the employee said she was not able to attend the first meeting date as it wasn’t convenient, and so the meeting was re-arranged.
When the meeting did take place, the employee seemed agitated, angry at times and slightly defensive. She did not want to engage in conversation, but did say that she didn’t know when she would be fit enough to come back. She expected to be signed off by her GP again.
2 days later a letter arrived, containing her resignation with 2 weeks’ notice (to the expiry date of her next Fit Note).
Let’s state the facts
The cleaning company was paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for the employee with what seemed like no light at the end of the tunnel in terms of a return to work. The company did not make much money and paying SSP was a huge burden on them as well as having to take on a new member of staff to cover the work. They since found out that the ‘rumours’ were in fact correct – a contact confirmed that the employee was working as a cleaner at a factory whilst also claiming SSP from the employer.
So how could a Private Investigator of helped?
Surveillance could have started as soon as the rumours of this employee came to light to confirm what the employee was actually up to. This most likely would have put a quick end to the problem by providing solid evidence of the employee moon-lighting, and in addition it would have saved the company needing to continue to pay out SSP unnecessarily.
When I talk to employers, I often uncover one of two things;
They are unaware that private investigative services even exist and can help with their situations, and/ or;
There is a feeling of guilt or embarrassment for having to use or consider using the services of a private detective to find out the truth. But essentially, you deserve this from your employees!
A private detective can work with your HR team to work out a plan that you are comfortable with that is both cost and time effective whilst also being ethical and proportionate in terms of intrusion. At the end of the agreed investigation period, you will have the evidence you need to move forward with your situation.
I’d like to say a special thank you to Nicky Silver who has kindly supported me with this blog by providing the above case study. If you are looking for bespoke employment or HR advice, we’d highly recommend her services!
You can find all of her services on her website www.nickysilverhr.co.uk
I hope you have found this blog useful. As always, thanks for reading!