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Flu? What to do if your boss doesn’t believe you

I share career coaching advice for CBS Moneywatch on this sticky workplace situation: what to do if you’re really sick and your boss doesn’t believe you:

(MoneyWatch) “My boss doesn’t believe I had the flu, and that was the reason I missed a week of work. What should I do?”

A reader sent me this question last week, and it occurred to me that during this already record-breaking flu season this issue is going to come up in offices across the country. So I asked career expert Caroline Ceniza-Levine, partner with the SixFigureStart career consulting firm in New York for her advice. Although the answer will certainly depend on your particular relationship with your boss, here are some things she says to consider.

Know your office guidelines for illness. If your office only asks for your honesty, great. “But there are many workplaces where absence over consecutive days requires a doctor’s note,” notes Ceniza-Levine. Try not to take it personally. “There are good reasons for employers to require medical documentation of prolonged absence. They need to set standards for all to follow so as not to appear as if they are treating some people preferentially over others,” she says. Some doctors may write a note after documenting a phone call with you, but most will need to see you.

Read more tips in Amy Levin-Epstein’s piece for CBS Moneywatch: Flu? What to do if your boss doesn’t believe you.