Reason to Believe Dishonest Employee

Hi All

I hope you are all well

We have a situation were an employee has asked for time off to attend their Gran mother's funeral, to which they were granted, however, we have very good reason to believe that the funeral that they attending was actually her partners Gran mothers funeral - have any of you dealt with this sort of situation before?

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated 



  • Does it really matter?
  • In reply to Keith:

    Yes I would say so
  • Hi Theresa

    I always think in this kind of scenario we can't know the real nature of the relationship between the employee and the person who has died. We have policies which say that someone gets 5 days paid bereavement leave if a parent died, but perhaps they were brought up by their grandparents, or an uncle or aunt or a neighbour. Perhaps your employee formed a close relationship with her partner's grandmother and thought of her as her own. We can't know. She might have been attending a funeral for someone who felt like family or she might have been supporting her partner at his loved one's funeral. . Do you really want to get into a comparative evaluation of the intensity of her emotional relationships? I don't think that's appropriate for an employer.
  • Hi Theresa

    I have, and while it is frustrating that the employee was not completely honest at the time (we gave time off (1 day) for what he said was his uncles funeral but it was actually his wife's uncle), we would have given him the time off anyway to attend.
    His manager spoke to him about being disappointed with him that he was not honest and it was left at that. Our employee said he was afraid he would not get the time off if he said it was his wife's uncle and as he was close to him he really wanted to be there.

    Dishonesty is never the way to go, but in the grand scheme of things and in my experience of dealing with dishonesty in a workplace, this situation is probably more of a minor issue.

  • For me it would depend on how good an employee they are usually, what the usual policy is for bereavement leave (if there is one) and possible reasons why someone would lie.

    e.g. in one of my last employers it was policy that only blood relatives and in-laws deaths qualified for any bereavement leave. Seemed crazy to think that I wouldn't have been able to go to my partner of 15 years grans funeral yet someone who had been with someone for 5 mins and had a whirlwind marriage would be eligible for paid time off for someone they might never have met.

    If they are normally a decent employee I'd probably file this in my "ooops I totally forgot about this issue" folder.
  • Fully agree with this. Was it a real lie or just that she called the lady Granmother?
  • Hi Theresa, personally I'm struggling with this one as IMHO there are various factors which are not entirely clear. Such as:
    the evidence which points to the alleged dishonesty - is this reliable evidence?
    the relationship between the employee and the deceased - was it that close?
    perhaps the employee felt pressured by the bereaved partner to take time off for the funeral?
    Perhaps the employee inaccurately second guessed the potential reaction to asking for time off to attend the funeral and assumed there would be a refusal? Perhaps the reaction to uncovering the alleged dishonesty points to this?

    Personally I'm with Fionnuala, a gentle conversation with the employee to establish if this suspicion is in fact credible followed by a discreet word about the embellishment if only to reassure them for future occasions. Echoing Keith's post - to do anything else seems heavy handed. I would also add that I know of individuals who were raised by their grandparents (including some cousins of mine) so it does not seem altogether unrealistic to consider the formative role potentially played by the grandmother in the partner's upbringing.
  • In reply to Theresa Muir:

    "Yes I would say so" Perhaps you'd like to elaborate?.

    I'd guess some people may well lie under these circumstances because if they told the truth of the exact relationship, their company may well refuse time.

    Another reason is expectations. In some relationships and families it is expected you take time off to attend funerals of close in-laws, and also to support your partner etc.,

    I don't know what religion or nationality she has but when I lived in rural Eire, it was expected that you attend the funeral of anyone you knew even if they were not someone you'd call 'a friend'. If you were a couple and it was impractical for family reasons for both of you to go because of children perhaps, then the couple would take turns to take time off and go to the funeral, 'to be seen'.

    What's your company expectations and rules on this? I it a case of:-
    "We don't care how much you loved your partner's granny/grandad etc. but you can't have the time off". Or the opposite?

    Would you have given the time off if she'd told you the exact relationship??
  • In reply to Clare Marie:

    Good Morning All

    Thank you all for your feedback it has been quite thought provoking. We have decided to handle this sensitively with a gentle conversation. The evidence is that unbeknown to the employee, I have a connection to the employees partners family and it was too coincidently that both Gran mothers passes away on the same day and their funerals were on the same day, but hey stranger things have happened. To be honest there was no need to be dishonest about it (if she was) as she would have got the time off to attend a partners Grandmothers funeral.

    Thank you
  • I don't think it matters in and of itself but I would be intrigued as to if there was any reason behind it - i.e. did they feel that their manager wouldn't be particularly sympathetic or understanding if it wasn't their own relative? Or (as a number of people have said) if time off is only allowed for certain relatives - if so, it might be worth having a look at that policy again with a more compassionate eye. If you're worried about people flouting it and 'going to a funeral' every other week, I'd deal with those people rather than those who would like a day to attend a family friend/partner's relative etc's funeral.
  • In reply to Theresa Muir:

    My partner and I work at the same company and we had our grandmother's funerals on the same day! This was several years ago but it was extra painful we couldn't be there for each other.
    Some people commented on the pains of having a couple working in the same organisation in a lighthearted way, but it was not the case at all.
    Like so many things, conversations rather than assumptions are sometimes hard but achieve so much more.

  • In reply to Theresa Muir:

    There was a recent survey which showed that very few people knew what their bereavement entitlement is
    We wrote an article yesterday saying that in these times it is well worth publicising it (rather than hiding it away n the Employee handbook)
  • In reply to Peter Stanway:

    Here it is:

    According to the survey, 77% of UK employees experience bereavement during their working lives. But despite this, 71% were unaware of their own organisation’s bereavement policies.

    Perhaps even more telling, just 6% of those who had suffered bereavement said that their organisation's policy was made clear to them at the time. In other words, the organisation had not reached out to them and explained precisely what they could and could not do.

    The majority, 54%, wanted either more time off or a phased return to work. 29% just wanted more practical support.

    And finally, probably the most damning statistic of all - only 21% of women and an even lower 12% of men felt that their employer talked properly to them and listened to them after bereavement.

    Nuff said