Just about when you think you’ve seen everything on the Internet, someone comes up with something so outlandish that a reasonable person has to question it’s legality.

Jessica K. Brown (AP) is reporting on a website that allows anyone to counterfeit (my term) excuses to provide to an employer.

From the AP article (courtesy of the Washington Post):

For about $25, students and employees can buy excuse notes that appear to come from doctors or hospitals. Other options include a fake jury summons or an authentic-looking funeral service program complete with comforting poems and a list of pallbearers.

Apparently, they are getting away with it because they have a disclaimer on the site stating that the templates are for “entertainment purposes only.”

Oddly enough, the AP article directly quotes one of the owners as saying:

“Millions of Americans work dead-end jobs, and sometimes they just need a day off,” said John Liddell, co-founder of the Internet-based company Vision Matters, which sells the notes as part of its Excused Absence Network. “People are going to lie anyway. How many people go visit their doctors every day when they’re not sick because they just need a note?”

To me, this is a direct admission that they know fully well that their templates are being used to defraud employers.

And please remember that it wouldn’t be too far fetched to guess that some of these excuses could be used by people committing workmen’s comp fraud.

Will the owners of this enterprise be held liable when someone loses their job after providing one of these counterfeit excuses to their employer?

According to the article at least one person has been already been arrested after using one of these counterfeit excuses. A New Jersey woman was arrested after using one of these notes to try to get out of appearing in court. I guess this means people can and will use these counterfeit documents for other purposes besides getting a day off.

Since, a lot of these people are collecting pay using these documents, there is a financial loss being incurred by employers from this activity, also.

There are a lot of reasons for employee absenteeism and many consider it a factor in how productive (profitable) any organization is.

In 2003, a study was published by Braun Consulting News that attempts to quantify the reasons it occurs and what can be done about it. Interestingly enough, the study showed that employee absenteeism was decreasing. The study recommends proactive ways of increasing employee morale, which was found to be big factor in what causes employees to call in sick.

The study is worth a read and it certainly points how organizations need to take a proactive approach in an ever-changing world to address employee absenteeism.

Saying this, most employers are going to take a dim view of forged documents and any employee, who uses them and gets caught, is going to be extremely lucky if they are not terminated for their actions. Most employee handbooks I’ve ever seen have a clause in them warning against falsifying documents, and most of them call for immediate termination for doing so.

This is a pretty hefty price to pay to get a day off!

Most reasonable bosses are more than happy to take care of a hard working and productive employee if they have a need. My guess is that these documents will be used by employees — who aren’t very hard working, and have already abused the system so much — they need a written excuse.

The amount of payroll a company spends it directly attributable to how much money they are making. The more of it that gets stolen, the less a company will have to spend on wages and benefits. Given this, the people at myexcusedabsence.com are costing the honest worker wages and benefits should their materials be used for anything other than entertainment purposes.

The Internet offers a lot of questionable services, and too many of them operate under the “entertainment purposes” guise.

Maybe if enough people complained to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about them and they were investigated throughly a few of them might be held accountable.

After all, in this instance, one of the site owners seems to have openly admitted to the associated press that he is fully aware of what people are using them for!

AP article (courtesy of the Washington Post), here.

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