Reddit recently posted a doctor's note chastizing an employer for sending an employee to their office for a sick note.
The Reddit user eaglel66 posted the note to the /r/funny forum, one of the most popular on the social linking site. In comments there, eaglel66 said the note was written for a friend who works in Alberta.As you can expect, a flame war rapidly developed in the CBC comment section, which is a shame because nobody seemed to ask the obvious question.
The note says the patient "sensibly stayed home from work," rather than spread his cold to his colleagues and customers.
"I have no test for the common cold and therefore believe him, however, you feel his time and mine should be wasted by making him sit in the walk-in clinic for hours and me spending time writing a sick note that I could be spending on people who genuinely need my attention," the note reads.
The note urges the employer to reconsider its policy on sick notes. "There are surely better ways of wasting your tax dollars," the doctor concluded.
How is this a "waste of tax dollars"?
At the first glance, you might think this is a crazy question and I suppose it is. After all, the function you'd think of a healthcare system doesn't lend itself immediately to excuse notes to lazy employees. The CBC commentards seem obsessed over "corporations capitalizing on the healthcare system". But is it really justified? And more importantly, if it's not justified, what other stuff does the same excuse unjustify?
The first problem is that companies require sick notes from employees, because some employees love taking lots and lots of sick days, and then suing the company into oblivion when they get fired for "medical reasons".
The short answer, employers must accommodate sick employees to the point of "undue hardship", which is generally accepted to mean that employers have to show that their business would suffer overwhelming harm or loss as a result of not terminating the sick employee. What many employers don't appreciate is that this is an onerous burden as the legal threshold to prove undue hardship is extremely high. All prudent employers need good counsel on their side to navigate their obligations when it comes to such accommodation.Seeing how government regulations force companies to treat workers who are sick differently than workers who are not sick, how the fuck can doctors in the public healthcare system that this same government forces upon the entire populace possibly excuse not providing this service. Hell, currently they charge extra for the privilege, and the employee or employer should send this bill right back to the human rights apparatchik who went after Hebert's employer.
For example, Jocelyn Hebert was employed to clean and maintain a police station. Three years after her employment commenced, Hebert notified her employer, a numbered company, that her doctor had recommended that she take a stress leave for about three months. The employer had to hire a new person to clean and maintain the station. It also suspected that Hebert would likely be away longer than the estimated three months. The employer terminated Hebert for "administrative reasons" during her sick leave. Hebert launched a human rights complaint citing that she was only terminated as a result of her sickness.
The alternative of course is that employers themselves become the sole arbiter of their employees health status. If you say you can't come in because you're sick, your manager decides whether you were really sick or not. If your manager says your two broken legs isn't a medical issue, get your ass back up on that scaffolding because he, not some second rate publicly funded doctor, is the guy who can say what your medical status is. I'm slightly unconvinced that CBC commentard Patrovich will be satisfied by this scenario.
Governments force employers to accommodate sick employees, doctors are the ones who decide if somebody's sick, government forces us to have a public system where doctors are available for no cost at any time.
So I ask again: how are sick notes a "waste of tax dollars"?