Doctor excuse for calling out of a shift

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by mclain, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. mclain


    Likes Received:
    Professional Chef
    I recently had my grill cook call out on a Friday night about an hour and a half before his scheduled shift, he informed me that he thought he picked up a stomach bug from his son, and had been up all night puking. He then kinda paused, waiting for me to suggest or give my blessing that he take the night off. I replied to him: "sorry to hear that", and then inquired as to the purpose of his call. He said that he did not want to leave us high and dry, but that he did not feel like he would be 100% and did not want to work around the food or the staff. I told him that he was the best person to determine whether or not he could work, and that I would trust him to make that decision. He then told me that he was not going to be able to work that shift, and that he was going to a doctor. I told him not to worry about us, we would be OK, and I hope you feel better soon. I also asked him, because he said he was going to see a doctor, to bring a doctors excuse. He showed up the next day with a doctors excuse that was very suspect. It was not from a local hospital, immediate med, or doctors office. It was from doctor on demand, with an address in San Francisco, very little information, and no signature. I called the telephone number and spoke with an operator, who informed me that it is an app and online service that provides video chat consultation with licensed physicians. I am curious if other chefs are getting this kind of call out excuse from their cooks and how they feel about it.
  2. chefbuba


    Likes Received:
    Retired Chef
    I would not accept a note from a phone app, I would require a physical visit to a local DR or clinic.

    I know it sucks when a key person calls in sick, can't count how many times it happened to me over the years, But........

    Straight out of the food handlers test.

    Food Handler Training

    Learning Objectives

    Food workers are expected to kn

    ow this information to obtain

    their food handler card.

    The concept of foodborne illness will be introduced. The training

    will address personal hygiene, contamination, and temperature

    control to reinforce the food handler's behaviors, which can

    prevent foodborne illness.

    Employee Illness

    1. The food handler will know to

    call the person in charge at

    the food service facility when

    ill with diarrhea, vomiting,

    jaundice, or fever with sore throat.

    2. The food handler will know not to work in the food service

    facility while ill wi

    th these symptoms.

    3. The food handler will know to not work in food service for

    24 hours after symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting have gone.

    4. The food handler will know not to handle food with an

    infected boil, cut, burn, or sore on the hand or wrist. Food

    may be handled if the injury is covered with a clean bandage

    and a latex-free glove.
  3. chezpopp


    Likes Received:
    Culinary Instructor
    The issue i would take with this is the timing. Four hour minimum for call outs. If he was up all night with these symptoms the call should have come earlier. Chefbuba has the right idea with the food safety in mind. If this is a repeat issue with the person than i would maybe push the issue of the note however if i am sick and vomiting or whatever i may not go to the doctors. If i am sick for more than a day or two yes but there really are stomach bugs that you get for a day and are gone. The money and time spent going to the doctor is not always worth it. If an employee is out for one day i dont really care about the note. I have a policy at my work that for calll outs of three days or more require a doctors note but that note is to clear them to return to work not to provide proof they were sick. You trust him or you dont. If you trust him than adress the timeing issue and say four hours notice is what you need. If you dont trust him or it is repeat offense start the write up paperwork and documentation until you can fire him.
    mikeswoods likes this.
  4. linecook854


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    Head Chef
    In my experience of cooks calling out is that it depends on the individual and the situation. Common sense always directs you to where it needs to be. If this is an employee who frequently calls outs, yes it's probably bullsh*t. If this is someone who never calls out then it's probably genuine. That being said even good employee's will "play hooky" once or twice every couple of years and I eat this whether I know it or not. As far as doctors notes I have no official policy in the employee handbook and this leaves me in a good position (it does say I need 3 hours notice minimum for illness however). When I had one girl who called in sick an abnormal amount of time I knew she just didn't want to come in, I would ask her for a note from that point on. She left after that. I do not ask for doctors notes for everybody because I like many other people do not see the doctor every time I'm sick, even if sick enough to call into work. If an employee of mine is sick enough to need multiple days off then yes I will ask for a note. Otherwise I use my best discretion and it's usually the best guidance.

    That being said I have never been given a fake doctors note, that is a different story. If an employee flat out tells you he's seeing his doctor like he did then yes I see no issue asking for a doctors note since he should get one no problem if he's really sick. For me being given a fake note is as bad as no call no show because you're lying to me. Telling me your seeing your doctor is one thing but bringing a "note" from a phone app is another, and quite frankly a lie. If it were an employee of mine I would pull them into the office, shut the door, and ask them why I was given a "note" from a phone app and that is not the same as a genuine doctor's excuse. They'll either fess up or pull something out of their @ss like I couldn't get an appointment in time etc. Explain to them their absence has NOT been excused for the day and you need to come back when you can get one. I wouldn't normally play hard ball but a fake note is not acceptable at all in my book. Just my thoughts.