Worker Praised for Keeping Quiet After Seeing Coworker Jogging on Sick Day

The internet has praised a man for refusing to tell his employer after seeing a coworker out for a jog after they phoned in sick.

The story was shared on Reddit's popular r/antiwork forum on Monday where user u/elegancemindset wrote: "I saw my coworker jogging after they had called in sick. Should I tell my boss? Absolutely not."

With more than 12,000 upvotes and thousands of comments, the employee continued to explain: "I had this happen to me. I called in sick, went to the doctor, and got a prescription. While waiting on the pharmacy to fill the prescription, I walked out into the mall to wait for the prescription to be ready.

"Some girls from work saw me and reported it to the boss. Of course, I had my prescription receipt with the date and time and a note from the doctor. My boss called these girls in at my request and told them what a mistake they'd made by assuming."

Man jogging and out of office
A stock image of a man jogging up a hill, left, and a file photo of an out of office sign on a chair, right. An employee has been backed after sharing that they didn't tell their boss after seeing a coworker jogging on a sick day. sportpoint/BrianAJackson/Getty Images

Despite seeing the coworker out jogging, the Redditor was firm in their feelings about the matter. They wrote: "It's just better not to start these games with co-workers. Besides, sometimes we need a mental day... Unless it affects you or is a habit, why spoil life for someone else. This could have been a day where something terrible happened, a break-up, or even something else bad. Leave it be and wish them well."

Currently, in the U.S., there are no federal legal requirements for an employer to offer paid sick leave. For companies subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Act does require unpaid sick leave.

While sick leave is often only offered for certain medical situations for employees or their close family, there is also evidence that extra time off can even have a positive impact on work and productivity.

Research from Iceland released in 2021 found that working fewer hours for the same pay led to improved wellbeing among workers and no loss in productivity—with some workers even ending up more productive on shorter hours.

86 percent of Iceland's working population has moved to shorter hours or has the right to negotiate such a schedule. In trials conducted between 2015 and 2019, workers went from a 40-hour week to a 35 or 36-hour week without a reduction in pay. Participants reported back that they felt more energized and less stressed.

After cutting back their work time, employees were spending more time exercising and seeing friends, which had a positive knock-on effect on their performance at work.

On the Reddit post, other users overwhelmingly agreed with the employee's approach. One commenter said: "I went canoeing when I should have been at work. I canoed past my boss who should have been at work having a lovely stroll on the bank. Pointed at each other. Snitches get stitches man. Or HR conversations which is much worse."

"When I call out, I let them know I will not be in for the day," explained another Redditor: "The only information they need is the fact that I will not be at work that day, anything else is personal information."

"We are not slaves. You don't report people for living their lives," wrote another reply: "None of us have to be sick or injured or anything to call out of work. Our time is our time, and if we don't want to go to work that day we don't have to."

Newsweek has reached out to u/elegancemindset for comment.