Have you ever suspected that your employee has given you an excuse too rehearsed or provided a doctor’s note a bit too slick in support of their leave of absence? Don’t be fooled: they actually might be paying for the excuse.

Just when we thought we’d seen it all. According to a report from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, for a mere $54, your employees can pay a “deception service” to provide a white lie or alibi to support their request for a day off.

One of the businesses responsible for these tales of woe is Paladin Deception Services. For what some might say is a reasonable $54 fee, this deception company will return a phone call to an employer to vouch for a ficticious doctor’s appointment or support a case of the sniffles.  The sole purpose of this service is to dupe employers into believing the employee’s request is legit.  Says Paladin on its deception web site, the company “will will provide the white lie or alibi that you need regardless the reason, as long as it’s important to you.”

With its moral compass intact, Paladin is quick to point out that there are some lines even this deception company won’t cross.  For instance, it apparently will decline making make false statements or provide fictitious references to law enforcement agencies, courts, banks, medical institutions, government agencies or fire departments.

Well, that’s is a relief, isn’t it!?!

Nevertheless, for the rest of us employers who seemingly are open game, it gives us yet another reason to be concerned about our employees’ sick leave excuses.  Yet, there are many tools available to employers to weed out these tall tales: 1) ask questions of the employee up front to determine whether FMLA might apply; 2) require completion of a leave of absence form that the employee (not the fake doctor) must complete; 3) authenticate and/or clarify the FMLA certification so that you can confirm that the health care provider and reasons for leave are legit; 4) where you have reason to doubt the FMLA certification, use the second and third opinion process; and 5) where an employee’s return to work is a question mark and the information from the employee is fishy, keep in mind my suggestions for seeking an independent medical examination.

In the meantime, though, be on the lookout for guys in dollar-rimmed glasses…

Hat tip: HRBenefits.com and DMEC.