Sunday, June 15, 2008


I asked my readers whether or not it is OK to call in sick when you're not really sick, and the vast majority who responded came down firmly on the side of it not being OK. The results of an unscientific poll on my column's blog have 47 percent voting it not OK, 17 percent voting it OK, 19 percent voting it sometimes OK and another 17 percent voting it not OK but adding that they've done it anyway.

"If a person is not sick, they have no right to call in sick," writes Delaine P. Whitehead of Tustin, Calif. "A person can use any number of euphemisms to excuse such behavior, but it is still just a lie."

"If a large number of people are not honest with employers," writes Brenda Levy of Richmond, Va., "then the employer may be forced to change its policy, which would put everyone at a disadvantage."

Madilyn Bruening of Riverton, Utah, highlights how one employer has addressed such issues.

"A good friend has a job where employees are given two extra sick days per year to be used for their well-being," she writes. "The idea is that, when her job gets too stressful, she then can take one of these days to ditch work and recuperate."

Check out other opinions here, or post your own or post your own by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business and The Good, the Bad, and Your Business: Choosing Right When Ethical Dilemmas Pull You Apart, is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2008 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

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