Q1. My employee sent a text to say they were sick on New Year’s Eve (31 December) and couldn’t come into work. I don’t believe them… what do I say.
A1. First, call them back. Don’t simply accept a text message as adequate notification. It is much easier to tell mistruths in a text than in a phone call. Ask if they are okay, and what appears to be the ailment they are suffering. Remove the sarcasm in your tone and rephrase that to “Just checking you are okay. How long do you think you will be off work?” Most people will fill in for you the reason they are sick without you having to ask the direct question. If you are not satisfied with the answer, tell them you will need a medical certificate. Then keep an eye on facebook.
Q2. An employee claims that they have been sexually harassed by a co-worker at the work Christmas party. What do I say to them?
A2. Ask them if they are okay, and what they would like to do about it. The options range from nothing to a formal complaint. If you have a policy on harassment make sure you follow what it says. Offer the employee EAP (external counselling) if this is an option for you and most importantly listen without judgement. Then call us and we will take you through the next steps appropriate to the circumstances.