Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 4, 2014

‘Super Bowl flu’ can be costly

VALDOSTA — More than a million workers across the country called in sick Monday due to a phenomenon known as Super Bowl flu, but lying about being ill could cost these employees their jobs.

Seattle’s dominating performance over Denver was cause for celebration from Seahawk fans and perhaps left more than a few Broncos fans drowning their sorrows. A 2008 study by the Workforce Institute concluded that, regardless of the reason for the excessive drinking, 1.5 million people would call in sick to work the day after the big game, and another 4.4 million would arrive late.

Sean Panizzi, Valdosta branch manager of TeamTemps Personnel Staffing, says most companies are aware of the phenomenon but still expect employees to act responsibly.

“Some companies have been proactive. One of our clients even delayed their start time yesterday by an hour to let everyone sleep in a little,” said Panizzi., “But if you call in sick, and get caught lying, they can terminate you.”

Panizzi said some employers attempt to verify sick day excuses and may go so far as to drive by the

employee’s house or view social media sites.

“Some companies view social media, and sometimes people put stuff on Facebook they shouldn’t,” said Panizzi. “That kind of stuff can come around to bite you.”

Lying about a sick day may not lead to termination, but Panizzi said it could lead to trust issues with management and could hurt promotion opportunities later.

To make sure employees are able to work the next day, Panizzi suggests moderation while drinking and taking the time to plan ahead to determine when to stop drinking to be prepared for work the next day, especially if they operate vehicles or dangerous machinery.

Panizzi said he did not see the Super Bowl flu really affect businesses in the Valdosta area yesterday.

“If Atlanta had been in the game, then it might have been a different story,” said Panizzi.

His advice to employees who want to have a good time the night before they go to work is to be honest.

“If you know you’re going to a party, ask your boss if you can come in late the next day. A lot of companies are very flexible if you are upfront and honest,” said Panizzi. “Moderation and honesty will get you further than anything else.”

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