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Fraud, fake sick note.

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kishi View Drop Down
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  Quote kishi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Fraud, fake sick note.
    Posted: 16/January/2014 at 14:37
I did a horrible thing....

I am at a new-ish job. On the 24th of December I went to the doctor about a suspected UTI and it turns out not only was that the case but i was also pregnant. I'm young and in no position to have a child so I was freaking out. But christmas was coming up and my family is a split one so it's a very stressful time. I went away with my dad and his family for a few days as I haven't spent a christmas with them in about 7 years. I knew I had to work on the 30th but was fine to cut my christmas time short, get home and do that. While i was there, already stressed thinking about how I was going to deal with this pregnancy, I had a miscarriage.

I didn't want to tell my dad especially what was going on so I tried my best to hide it. I sent my boss a message that afternoon and let her know that I couldn't make it in to work the next day, telling her I had food poisoning. I had not taken a sick day as of yet. She told me I had to get a medical certificate, and I said that was fine. I waited to be able to get home, as I didn't want to tell my dad and his family why I would need them to take me to the doctor's. I went as soon as I could get an appointment on the 2nd of next year (the doctor's was closed over the new year).

the doctor said he couldn't backdate the certificate because he hadn't seen me on that day. This was understandable, but it left me in a bad place. I stalled for as long as possible, and saw various other doctor's hoping one of them would give me a certificate. None of them would and I panicked. I fake a doctor's note. I never wanted to do it and in hinsight I can see what I should have done. as soon as I handed it in I wanted to take it back. i tried all day to get my boss alone but I couldn't. She knew it was suspect and as anyone would, showed it to HR.

they called me in to let me know that I would have a formal meeting next week. I told her everything then and there. She told me I didn't have to comment, but the fact is that they were going to find out, and I wanted to be honest. I told her the whole story, why I'd done what I'd done, apologised profusely, and told her I'd wanted to be upfront but hadn't been able to get a meeting with my boss the day I handed it in.

Just to reiterate: I have not claimed sick leave, I did not get paid for this day at all and never attempted to. I have been a good employee up until this point and I work hard. I had a lapse in judgement, I was stressed and scared. I know what I did was stupid and wrong.

I guess I just want to know what's going to happen to me. I have never done anything like this before in my life. Will I get reported to the police? The doctor's cert was a terribly bad one (obviously a good sign my heart wasn't really in it to begin with), it didn't have a doctor's name on it at all, but it did have a forged signature. Does this count as fraud, even though it doesn't specify an individual or an organisation?

MartinO View Drop Down
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  Quote MartinO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16/January/2014 at 16:15
A doctor can give your a certificate that states he saw you on such and such a date, and that you had reported that you were suffering from a medical condition on some other date. Alternatively you could have asked your employer for a day off your annual leave or for a day off without pay.

You are not required to reveal to your employer the personal details of your situation.

Forging a medical certificate is a criminal offence, and you could be prosecuted in court for doing this, you could lose your job, if so you will probably not receive a reference.

All you can do now is hope that your employer accepts your honesty, and just gives you a reprimand.

If a complaint is made to the police, you should consult a lawyer before you agree to any interview, and ideally have the lawyer present during any interview.


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kishi View Drop Down
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  Quote kishi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16/January/2014 at 17:31
Thanks for the reply.

I did ask the doctor at the time if he could give me anything whatsoever. He said the only thing he could do was record in my medical history that I had seen him on this date and that I had reportedly experienced symptoms on a previous date, and I've provided all of that information to my employer as well, but in terms of writing me anything to that effect the doctor refused to do this.

I know I did a stupid thing. Luckily for me, I could never be a hardened criminal, because there's nothing in the certificate to indicate which doctor it supposedly was or even which practise so it may be fraudulent, but I didn't damage anybody's professional reputation, and I didn't get paid for the day I took off sick so the company didn't lose any money. This doesn't make what I did any better, I understand, but I suppose it does make me feel less guilty that no one got properly hurt in the process.

I thought about taking annual leave, but to be perfectly honest this is the first job I've had where that's even an option, let alone sick leave. I've only ever worked casual jobs at dodgy places like servo's before. I didn't think annual leave could be taken on such short notice. That and I had taken a considerable amount of leave (about 5 days total) just recently as a family member passed away overseas and had a young son, so myself and my father flew over to collect him and deal with the arrangements pertaining to his mother's death. My work was incredibly understanding, and I thought taking annual leave on such short notice after that may make it seem I was taking advantage.

In truth, I never wanted to hurt anyone. In not trying to get paid for the day, that period not being a busy period, and not putting anybody out particularly by not doing the shift, I guess I panicked and just wanted it to go away quickly. There's been a lot of drama (as you can see) in my life recently and this was just icing on the cake.

I've told the truth now and that makes me feel better, so hopefully when I see them next week the fact that I'm an otherwise exemplary employee, can prove my story, and that it was never my intention to cost anyone their time or money will work in my favour. Put it this way, I'm currently looking for a new job.... I'm expecting to get fired, and that would be completely understandable.

MartinO View Drop Down
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  Quote MartinO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16/January/2014 at 21:16
Originally posted by kishi

Luckily for me, I could never be a hardened criminal, because there's nothing in the certificate to indicate which doctor it supposedly was or even which practise so it may be fraudulent, but I didn't damage anybody's professional reputation, and I didn't get paid for the day I took off sick so the company didn't lose any money.

That is completely irrelevant, forging a medical certificate is a criminal act, for which you could receive a criminal conviction.

It is not necessary that anyone's reputation is damaged or that you received a financial benefit for it to become a criminal act.

You need to get your head around the fact that you broke the law when you did this. That makes you a criminal.

However whether you are pursued through the courts for this or not, is out of your hands.

I suspect that you will be reprimanded at work, you may even be fired for misconduct. If your employer decides that this is serious misconduct, you could be dismissed summarily, that means without notice. See Definition of ‘serious misconduct’

I expect that if this was going to happen it would have occurred already, perhaps you are off the hook. I hope so.

Good luck, and even though you are suffering over this and reluctant to talk to family, perhaps you need their support at this time. Consider seeking family assistance.



I am NOT a lawyer. Anything said is NOT legal advice.

Please post your legal questions in a forum rather than sending a PM. Thanks.

kishi View Drop Down
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  Quote kishi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/January/2014 at 09:43
I assumed that the time taken for them to "investigate" the matter was essentially them saying they needed to build a documented case for dismissal, so that I couldn't turn around later and file for unfair dismissal.

My next question is this:

I wanted to talk to my manager, as I haven't yet, about this. Really, just to apologise and explain why I did what I did, and let her know how horrible I feel. She is not in the office until monday and I am not in the office again until wednesday. I thought of writing her an email. But of course I don't want to put something in writing that may make it easier for them to fire me/convict me with. However, when we have a meeting on thursday of course I plan to tell them everything anyway. Would it hurt me to send my manager an email? Will it make any difference?

My second question I suppose is, I know that the fact that I didn't directly damage anyone or receive financial gain from this doesn't change the fact that it's fraud, but if this does go to court what are they likely to do to me? I know the maximum penalty is 5 years, but I've read lots of cases about people who have done much worse than this (as in, pretending to have a tumour, taking 9 months of paid leave from work with fake certificates) who have essentially been given suspended sentences or just made to pay restitution. I have no previousl dealings with the police at all, I've never so much as gotten a speeding fine. Would I really go to jail for this?

MartinO View Drop Down
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  Quote MartinO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/January/2014 at 13:42
Sorry, I am unable to answer that question. There are too many variables.

Some times it can come down to whether you are seen as a valued member of the company or not.

But perhaps you should stop stressing. I do not believe there is anything that you can do now, that is going to alter the outcome.

Certainly apologise profusely when you are called in to the boss and give your explanation as to the circumstances behind your 'out of character' behaviour, if you wish.

Best wishes for a favourable outcome.



I am NOT a lawyer. Anything said is NOT legal advice.

Please post your legal questions in a forum rather than sending a PM. Thanks.

kishi View Drop Down
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  Quote kishi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/January/2014 at 13:52
Thanks Martin,

I think I might come in to the office on Monday perhaps and ask to speak with her in private. I don't so much want to do it to change what will happen in the end. the fact is she's been a fantastic manager, and I've loved working for her. I feel like I owe her a decent apology, and not one that's just for the purposes of a formal investigation.

At the formal meeting I will tell them what happened and why and apologise. Hopefully the extenuating circumstances and my extreme remorse will work in my favour. I think if I was in my employer's shoes I would definitely be giving a written warning and putting someone on a probationary period, but I think if they showed that they really understood what they had done and that it was wrong, and no one had gotten hurt in the process, I would not go so far as dismissal unless they had been reprimanded before, which I have not.

I guess I just have to sit back and wait to see what happens. I can't help myself stalking through the internet looking for similar incidents in the mean time however.

I'll let you know how it pans out, in case anyone in the future goes through this and wants to know the process.

MartinO View Drop Down
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  Quote MartinO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/January/2014 at 14:07
Thanks Kishi, good luck.

I am NOT a lawyer. Anything said is NOT legal advice.

Please post your legal questions in a forum rather than sending a PM. Thanks.

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