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'I went on holiday while on sick leave, but my boss saw pictures on Facebook.' UPDATED 4X

'I went on holiday while on sick leave, but my boss saw pictures on Facebook.' UPDATED 4X


We all make mistakes, but social media makes it a lot harder to get away with them.

In a popular Reddit post, a woman shared her workplace saga that was triggered by a tagged FB photo. She wrote:

"I went on holiday while on sick leave, but my boss saw pictures on Facebook."

I ran out of holidays from work and got option of last minute holiday so called in sick for 5 days. Lots of people do this. I’m not linked to anyone at work on Facebook but turns out one of my friends is and my manager has now seen posts with pictures of me on holiday. I know she’s seen them because she’s made a comment but I don’t know what if anything she’s going to do. Can she do anything?

The internet was quick to share advice.

Ashandes wrote:

Yes. You could be disciplined and potentially dismissed for gross misconduct. FWIW unless you're really important or they're very easy-going, I'd prepare for the worst. On the bright-side you won't lose any accrued holiday pay.

Icy_Session3326 wrote:

Depending on how valuable you are to where you work, I’d start looking for another job 😅 you took a chance and f#$ked about and now you’ve been found out. They’re perfectly legally able to sack you if they want to for this.

OP responded:

I really didn’t expect this. It’s not likely though is it? Loads of people do it.

Icy_Session3326 responded:

What do you mean it’s not likely? I’d 100% sack someone so un trustworthy 😅

Ashandes responded:

I think a lot of people might take a sneaky single sick day here or there for a special event, recovering from an all-nighter or just because they're being lazy, and you might get away with that with a warning if you got caught. I've never known anyone to do it for a week long holiday and at ours that would be a near certain dismissal.

lostintranslation767 wrote:

Exactly as other poster stated. Complete breach of trust and likely gross misconduct.

It's happened twice at my current employers, in both cases the person was dismissed.

The-Ginger-Beard wrote:

"Lots of people do this."

Lots of people get fired too which absolutely could happen to you after the disciplinary hearing you've got coming. Sorry OP.

OP responded:

Ok but can they use Facebook as evidence? I thought companies couldn’t use personal social media posts.

fightmaxmaster wrote:

It would be internal disciplinary action, not a court of law. If someone's seen the posts and says they've seen the posts, the firm has proof and can take whatever steps they deem fit. If you were to try and claim unfair dismissal you'd presumably have to present evidence that you weren't on holiday...which you wouldn't have, because you were.

OP responded:

To clarify, they weren’t my posts though. They were my friends posts. I was in them but I didn’t post anything. Does that make a difference?

fightmaxmaster responded:

No, because the issue isn't whether or not you posted anything on Facebook, it's whether or not you were on holiday while "sick" - you were, and photos prove it. Who took or posted the photos is irrelevant.

Two days later, OP shared an update.

Christmas is going to be terrible. It seems very likely that I’m going to be fired from my job when I go back, for what was a massive error of judgment. I have to go to a meeting when we reopen but advice is that it doesn’t look good for me. Also I can’t really job hunt because all the companies in my field are closed over Christmas. I’ve never been in trouble before and I’m feeling sick and scared.

Ironically, my good friend has just got a big promotion, which is deserved. She’d planned a big night out to celebrate, which I agreed to go to before all this happened. When this happened I said I couldn’t go, I was too miserable and probably shouldn’t spend the money. She said she’d pay for me. I still didn’t want to go and said I’d put a damper on the night.

She said it would do me good to be distracted for a night. I told her she was insensitive and if it was for any other reason I would go but not for this.

She told me that the trouble I was in was my own fault and I was selfish for not wanting to celebrate her success just because I’ve f***ed up. I was really hurt that she said this and it escalated. I didn’t go, she still went with the other people but she’s still annoyed with me. AITA here?

The internet did not hold back on OP.

Usagidreams wrote:

NTA for not being in the mood but YTA for escalating it in the first place.

"I was really hurt that she said this"

Just like she was probably hurt that you told her she was being insensitive, and she reacted.

No_Impression2731 wrote:

Couldn't agree more. Being down for being in trouble at work is understandable; however I think your friend had good intentions when she insisted on you going out to clear your head. In any case best of lucks OP hope is only a warning, and not a firing. And if you do get fired. Don't worry there are other jobs out there.

OP responded:

Thanks. Appreciate the support. I’m a little tender at the moment.

PhilosopherInsider956 wrote:

I’m going with gentle YTA. While you’re not wrong for feeling down or not feeling up to celebrating, you took it down the wrong track. You should have just said I’m too upset with myself and I’m not a good person to be around right now. Sorry I can’t come. She might have been a little pissed but it wouldn’t have escalated.

Jusfiq wrote:

Solely for this case, NTA. If you do not feel like going, nobody should otherwise force you.

That being written, for the reason why you feel terrible, you are a big, grade-A, f#$king AH.

OP responded:

Comment a bit unkind. I made an error of judgment and did nothing that lots of other people haven’t done. I was surprised they are taking it seriously but it seems they are and I’m still a bit in shock. I’ve never been in trouble before, hopefully they’ll take account of that.

Jusfiq responded:

"...did nothing that lots of other people haven’t done."

A lot of people committed fraud and that was an excuse?

OP responded:

I’m not denying I did something wrong, I am owning it, but I’d say fraud is a bit of a strong word.

A week later, OP shared another update.

I have a disciplinary meeting next week, two days before my two year work anniversary. I am going to admit the allegation, which was that I took paid sick leave to go on holiday for a week- they found some posts on social media. It was a stupid decision which I regret. The letter I have states they are considering it as gross misconduct.

I am in a union and the rep has told me it looks bad. I now understand how serious it is but in practice is this something which is likely to get me sacked? Is there a reason it would be better to resign before being dismissed? I do not have another job.

But I worry in case I did that and they were only going to give me a warning. Is there a point this becomes obvious? Thanks for your help, I have never been in trouble like this before so don’t know what to expect.

The internet had thoughts to share about the situation.

RebelBelle wrote:

Hi, I'm HR.

Firstly, you are outside of the 2 years - statutory notice takes you over the 2 year period so you have some protection.

Also, did you knowingly call in sick to get holiday? Or were you too ill to work but not too ill to have a break? Anyone is entitled to R&R when sick, but if you phoned in with a broken leg and went ski-ing then obs it would be a different story.

Why did you call in sick? Is there an issue getting leave? If you've any mitigation, use it but be honest. Do you have other warnings? Is this out of character? Explain what you've learnt from this and why you'd never do it again.

It is potential dismissal but at the same time you could end up with a warning. Most employers don't disclose the reason for leaving in references unless you work in a regulated industry. Tbh, I'd do the hearing as it'd extend the time you're paid and give you more time to find a job. Also, change your FB settings so you can't be tagged.

OP responded:

Hi. Thanks. No I won’t be there 2 years until 2 days after the hearing unfortunately. ☚ī¸ I wanted to go away on holiday abroad but didn’t have any holidays left so I booked the holiday and then called in sick. At the time it didn’t seem that big a deal but it was really stupid, I get that now. I then signed the RTW when I got back saying I was sick.

I’ve never had any warnings before. I’ve had some time off sick but never enough to have a warning. I don’t work in a regulated industry, so does this mean even if the sack me, it wouldn’t be in a reference? Thanks for your help.

Hufflepuff4ever wrote:

Did you say what supposed illness you had? I know here on Ireland you don’t have to tell your employer why you’re out as long as it doesn’t effect your work performance and obviously have a sick cert. If you were taking time off for your mental health, you could argue that getting away for a couple of days was for some headspace.

OP responded:

No, said I had flu/ chest infection.

atomic_mermaid wrote:

It's difficult to say. It would fall under gross misconduct reasoning in most places, but it doesn't mean they necessarily would sack you. If you go in and admit everything, apologise profusely, show you recognise the impact it had on the work and promise never to do it again then throwing yourself on their mercy may get you a warning (probably final).

But no one here can guarantee that. Of course this assumes you're otherwise a model employee. if you already have any other warnings on file or a history of breaking policies they're going to be more likely to come down harder on you.

jlanza29 wrote:

Yeah bud that is a tough one to get out of...usually if you sign a return to work for an illness the company usually ask for documentation unless it was a simple flu, COVID (nowadays) or stomach issues. But getting caught red handed is more difficult to fight especially if you flew abroad.

Best of luck...you f$$ked up (which I consider a mistake) ask the union what exactly are they going to do for you! Don't let them just go in and throw you under the bus...your union dues are worth something from them for the very least.

OP responded:

I have a meeting with my rep next week before the disciplinary and he will go through things with me then. I’m just very nervous because I’ve never been in trouble like this before.

Two weeks later, OP shared another update.

I’ve had a bad few weeks- I’ve just lost my job due to a misjudgment on my part. My company overreacted, in my opinion, and dismissed me. I’ve had to accept this and move on but it’s been hard. To keep afloat, I’ve got two minimum wage jobs in unrelated areas. I’ve only just started them and already absolutely hate them!

They are boring and brutal, I’m quickly eating into savings and I’m desperately looking for something similar to before. I’m applying for jobs but nothing yet. It’s awful ATM and I’m really worried. My BF “Dave” and his older brother “Kieran” both work at the same company, but in different functions. Kieran is more senior and has been there longer. Dave hasn't been there long and got the job through his brother.

We went to his parents for dinner the other night. Kieran and his GF were there too. I’ve always got on well with all of them and they know my situation and have generally been supportive. It came out (accidentally, which stung a bit) that there is a vacancy at their company, similar to my previous job.

I asked about it and Dave couldn’t help, hadn’t known about it, didn’t know the people involved or what the job was. Kieran did know and could have helped but was non-committal and vague but I kept asking and he provided more details. I thought I could definitely do it and was really enthusiastic.

I asked him if I could apply and he wasn’t keen at all and said he didn’t think it was a good fit and not my thing. He knows anything would be at the moment! I said it sounded perfect and I wanted to apply and asked him to put a good word in for me. He still didn’t sound happy about it and kept making lame excuses.

He said it was a different department, he wasn’t the hiring manager and couldn’t influence it, I was free to apply but he couldn’t really recommend me. I asked why not as he’d recommended Dave for a job in a different department.

Then his mum got involved, backing me up, saying family was important and I was a great worker. He argued for a bit with us, then said he’d not had concerns about Dave, he did about me! After everything that’s happened, and thinking he was on my side, wow! I got annoyed and probably shouted a bit and asked him what he meant.

He said I had a work ethic and attitude problem and I didn’t get fired for nothing and he wasn’t prepared to harm his own career recommending someone who he had concerns about! He said family loyalty also meant me not harming him at work! I couldn't believe it and said so. His mum agreed with me and there was a big row, us v Kieran.

Then Dave also got involved and asked his mum to back off and me to leave it which was even more hurtful. We left soon after and Dave is now annoyed with me for ‘causing’ the fight. All I’m trying to do is get back on my feet and be given another chance and I feel so unsupported. We had another fight and he blames me for that. AITA?

The internet did not hold back one bit.

Caspian4136 wrote:

YTA. After finding out that you used paid sick leave to take a vacation, which is dishonest and downright stupid to do, I see why you got fired. This is why Kieran won't recommend you. He's putting his career first and doesn't want to recommend someone who has a poor worth ethic and took advantage of their last company in such a way, getting paid while on vacation. It shows a lack of integrity.

Teratodentata wrote:

YTA. Let’s be honest, the reason you got fired isn’t super heinous, but it’s really dumb and professionally embarrassing. It also doesn’t sound like a first-offense firing action, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was used as an excuse to fire you.

Knowing this, and the way you acted when they didn’t immediately say “yeah, I’ll make sure you get this other job,” I probably wouldn’t want to make myself look bad by suggesting you for a position where I work, either.

CoffeeSpoons123 wrote:

FWIW, even if Kieran didn't know about it, it's weird to ask for an employment recommendation from someone who didn't work with you. Someone can be a great friend but a lousy employee. And especially here where what the family member DOES know is negative.

Ze_Stips wrote:

YTA. Not for asking, you can always ask. But for starting an argument after he said no. He has doubts and doesn't want to be responsible for fall-out if it goes wrong. Warranted or not, it's his decision. OP went on holiday while booking sick leave, extra big yta. That is not a misjudgement, that proves K is 100% right to not put his reputation on the line.

Two months later, OP shared another update.

I posted a few times just before and just after I lost my job. Looking back now, I’m embarrassed about how entitled I sounded but I was a bit in shock and disbelief and not really thinking straight at the time. I worked at my previous job for nearly 2 years. The culture and enforcement around timekeeping and attendance was quite lax.

It was well known that people called in sick when they weren’t. People called in if they needed a day off for a school thing for their kids or for a hangover. Everyone knew they were doing it. Nothing happened as a result. Right or wrong, it happened. I got used to it and like others sometimes abused it. I wasn’t the best but also not the worst. We got a new head of department.

I now see she wanted to change this culture. They did some announcements/ warnings but I didn’t pick up exactly what was being said. My fault. Totally. So, I ran out of annual leave, wanted an holiday and like others I just called in sick. I did this at a time when my department was very busy- it was bad for my colleagues and I get them being annoyed with me.

Some of them found out I was away, from my friends’ posts and told my manager, who took it through disciplinary process and they sacked me. I later found out from one of the ex-colleagues that I handed it to the company on a plate. I gave them the perfect case, gave them all the evidence etc so they could sack me as a warning to everyone else. The absence rate is apparently great now! How stupid am I?

I went into shock and panic a bit when I was sacked. I was scared about being homeless and never getting another job. I applied via agencies and got short term work. Lots of it. It was hard. As per my post, I found out about a job at my boyfriend and his brother’s employer, which was similar to what I’d done and thought if I got that, I wouldn’t have gaps in my cv (resume) etc.

I see now how inconsiderate I was to both of them, especially “Kieran,”, who would have had to vouch for me. I’ve apologized to Kieran and he’s accepted it. I also apologized to their mum. (“Dave” did know about it by the way, just felt it was easier not to. Kieran knowingly took the rap for him). So I got lots of short term agency minimum wage jobs.

I got a job in a pub kitchen ( I’ve since been promoted to the bar). I burnt my arm on the night of Dave’s sister’s engagement party (which I couldn’t get the night off for!). Incidentally, on that night, Dave’s mum had a few drinks and told lots of family members why I wasn’t there. Nice.

One the plus side, I ended up getting an evening job cleaning offices, through Dave’s auntie. I’ve still got it, until I feel more secure about other jobs. One of the ‘longer’ short term positions I got, I was sacked for being late - due to an accident on the motorway. It really opened my eyes. I’m now working in a similar job to the one I lost, but for less money and longer hours.

There is regular overtime (6-2) on a Saturday and I am at the moment keeping my pub and cleaning jobs, so am taking home a bit more. The main job is going ok though, the company is good and long term there may well be more prospects than previously. I am being the ‘perfect employee’ and intend to remain so.

Around the same time as my post, Kieran and his partner announced they were expecting a baby (so I was obviously not priority), their sister announced her engagement (the party I missed) and lots of commenters here expressed their hope that Dave would leave me! Lovely. He didn’t. I now think it was because he didn’t have the guts.

We aren’t together any more, my decision, though I think he was relieved, not really anything to do with this. He’s seeing someone else now. He says they met after we split up, I don’t believe him but what can I do. Some Redditors will be pleased, no doubt! I randomly saw Kieran after this, he said he thought we weren’t right together, that I needed someone to stand up to me more, and Dave wasn’t it.

Made me feel strangely better somehow. I actually feel I will miss Kieran more than Dave. He was like a big brother. He’ll be a great dad. Anyway, yes I was TA. I got a lot of nasty comments and DMs but also got a lot of advice and support, which helped me a lot, so thanks. Life is quite hard at the moment but I’m working on it getting better.

The comments kept flowing in.

Stephenallen1977 wrote:

Thanks for the update. Seems unlike most of the posters in AITA, you took on the advice given and have been working hard to be a better person. Better to make a mistake early in life and move forward with the experience.

OP responded:

Thanks. I really don’t want to screw up my life more than I have already. Appreciate your comment.

DinahTook wrote:

I saw this when you posted it in the wrong sub earlier. I just wanted to message and say that it is wonderful that you took the comments and used that as a moment to reflect on what happened and your choices. It really sounds like you are focused on moving forward in a better way. That's wonderful!.

I hope things continue to look up for you and you continue learning from mistakes to be a better, stronger, and happier version of you than you were when you first posted about this situation. Good luck!

OP responded:

Thanks. This actually means a lot.

DinahTook responded:

Everyone makes mistakes in life. Some are bigger than others. The key now is that you are picking up the pieces and dealing with the end result of your mistakes. You have an opportunity now to move forward having learned how badly those mistakes end up. This plies to personal and professional life.

You deserve respect and dignity and I hope you continue this path of making things right for yourself and giving yourself and those around that same respect and dignity you deserve. If you ever need a little support or a figurative ear to bed feel free to message me whenever.

[deleted] wrote:

OP deserves to be single and jobless. Thank God Dave is free.

OP responded:

I’m not jobless. I’m working hard and am really trying to be a good employee. I am single but it’s the right thing for me at the moment and Dave wasn’t ever in a prison, he was always free. I get why people didn’t approve of the things I said in the earlier posts, I was confused though at how vicious some of the comments were, especially in DMs.

Because of that I’m not surprised some people don’t think I can improve and don’t want to wish me well. I took the risk when I posted this update. It’s your choice and your right to feel how you do and comment. I can’t do anything about it.

I don’t know what a dumpster fire is but assume it’s not nice and so not going to look it up. I do have better perspective now though and am making better choices and will do that without your blessing.

It sounds like OP landed back on her feet in the end, which is what matters.

Sources: Reddit
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