Internet Torn Over Boss Denying Worker a Day Off to Attend Daughter's Chemo

A boss has divided opinions online after admitting she didn't believe a member of staff who had requested a day off to be with her daughter as she underwent chemotherapy.

The 42-year-old woman explained that she is one of the CEOs of a multi-located company, meaning she is in charge of just one of six locations. As part of her role, she is responsible for the work schedules and requested time off.

One employee, she wrote in a popular "Am I the A**hole" post on Reddit, had already used up all of her time off and still put in a request, which was later denied. Instead of canceling another day she had previously booked off, she requested an extra one, adding that she "really needed the day off."

"I denied it again," wrote the boss. "A day later she stormed into my office yelling at me that she really needed that day. I asked her to close the door and take a seat so we could discuss the issue."

"That's when she told me her daughter (7) has cancer. The day she requested off was a chemo day for her daughter and Kate's husband couldn't take the day off due to a project he was working on. She cried telling me her daughter missed so much school already, she has to redo the year. I felt immediately sorry for her, wished her the best and promised to make something work. When she left, I was almost in tears, cancer always hits me personally since I lost a few family members myself due to this disease."

The story, however, soon got far more complicated. The boss explained that her son attends the same school as the employee's daughter, and didn't corroborate the facts.

"My don told me Kate's daughter is not sick, has never missed a day at school and she always brings a specific snack and he would try to get the name for me," she wrote. "He even proceeded to tell me they actually talk quite a lot at school and have mutual friends."

"I was shocked to discover the lie and almost immediately wanted to deny her day off again, but my husband told me to try and cool down for a minute. I did and now I am torn between choosing to believe my employee or my own son."

Checking Up on Excuses

Being cautious over an employee's sick days is far from rare. In fact, one study by CareerBuilder showed that 38 percent of employers have checked up on a sick worker and 26 percent have even fired someone for using a fake excuse to get a day off.

Reddit users were torn over the situation, with some saying that believing a child over an adult is unfair and others hatching plans to catch the worker out.

One comment gained over 16,000 votes, suggesting: "Steer into the kindness you originally intended, not because she deserved it, but because you can out her for her lie without being the one to actually point a finger and create conflict that may affect your work.

Out of office and saline drip
File photos of an "out of office" display and a saline drip. A boss has divided opinions online after admitting she didn't believe a member of staff who had requested a day off to be with her daughter as she underwent chemotherapy. Getty Images

"Make a care basket," they instructed. "Very obviously show your support, pool people together at work or parents of other classmates to make dinners and deliver them. Give a gold standard supportive community member show and she will very quickly find herself backed into a corner where she must admit her lie.

"Or in the very very off chance she isn't lying and perhaps her daughter isn't being public with her illness or something of that nature, then you haven't singled out someone and created intense conflict in your workplace."

Others however were less supportive of that idea, with one dubbing it a "horrible idea," countering: "Just communicate with her. Don't be passive aggressive and 'back her into a corner'."

"Soft you are the a**hole, on the basis that you're depending on a seven-year-old as your sole source of information," added another. "My son is also seven and he told me his best friend in school moved away. Imagine my surprise when I drop him off at school and there is his friend, and my son simply says 'oh, I guess he's still here'."

Another user agreed, noting: "I'd also suggest you consider whether you are really qualified to be in a senior management position, if you're asking advice on HR matters from a seven-year-old."

While others took the middle ground, suggesting she grants the day off, but requests evidence for the reason. "Give her the day off unpaid," instructed one Reddit user. "If she is willing to submit paperwork such as an insurance claim/ receipts for the chemo appointment, you can give her an emergency sick day. Nothing wrong with her having to prove she is not abusing the system Especially since she is out of approved time."

Newsweek has contacted the poster for comment.