Q. How far can we go to make sure that employees aren’t taking advantage of our company while they’re out on workers’ comp leave? Can we, for example, call them at home to make sure they are resting and not out working another job or abusing the system? —D.V., Illinois
A. You can go even further: You can visually check up on them, too. Workers’ compensation fraud costs employers millions each year. One weapon that employers frequently use is surveillance. If you suspect an employee of workers’ comp fraud, you can hire a private eye to “tail” that person. Or, you or a claims adjuster can phone the employee’s home periodically to check up on him or her.
How aggressive you can be varies from state to state. You should check with your attorney or third-party administrator before taking any action. He or she can tell you whether the type of surveillance you have in mind is reasonable.