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Is it Unethical to Use a Fake Doctor's Note?

Updated on July 14, 2014

A few years ago, there was a story in the media about a New York City school employee, who lied about her daughter dying. And she submitted a fake death certificate to support her fallacy. Her reasons, for doing so, was that she was vacationing in Costa Rica and she wanted to lengthen her time on the island; so, her plan was to use her daughter's "death" to get extra leave.

For the most part, lying about the death of a close relative is quite extreme. And most people would not even consider doing that. Moving on to the question at hand: Is there anything inherently immoral about turning in a fallacious doctor's note? It is evident, that at one point or another you may have been stressed out from work or school.

Creating a fake doctor's note is as easy as checking your e-mail messages. All you have to do is Google, "fake doctor's note," and there will be many hits for websites were you can purchase falsified medical excuse notes. You may or may not have felt tempted to use a fake doctor's note to take a day off from work or get extra time on a school project.

Here are some things to consider when using a fabricated doctor's note.


Your Employer May Not Even Know

Generally, employers require a physician's note when an employee misses work or when the employee needs to take time off from work for health reasons. Your employer doesn't care about your medical conditions. But, he or she still needs a physician's note to make sure that you really need time off from work or that you didn't miss work just for the sake of, "not being in the mood to come to work."

The fact of the matter, is that employers are too swamped with work themselves to verify if a doctor's note is real or fake. The same goes for college professors; many, lecturers have full-time jobs outside of the college and/or pursuing other degrees. Teachers just don't have the time to substantiate a doctor's note. Unless there are obvious signs that the document is fake (which was the case with the school employee mentioned earlier), your employer is not going to check. There are also HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy laws which prevents your employer from accessing your medical records or talking to your health care provider(s).

Just because your employer or professor may not know that your doctor's note is fake, it still doesn't make the practice right. Although it's still important to note that, an inauthentic doctor's note can't cause much harm if no one even knows that you used one.


Did you ever give a fake doctor's note to your boss or professor?

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Using a Fake Doctor's Note May Not Even Benefit You

Depending on what type of job you have, using a false doctor's note may not benefit you much. The reason being is that if you don't even get any paid sick days then you are actually losing wages. According to the Center for American Progress, there are more than 40 million Americans who do not receive any paid sick leave. Also low-income workers are the less likely to receive paid sick days than workers who earn six-figures. For a low-income worker, even missing a few days of work could mean a substantial loss of income necessary to meet monthly bills, according to the Center for American Progress.

If you are a college student, giving your professor a fake doctor's note after missing class definitely would not benefit you. While you can catch up on homework assignments or make-up exams, when you miss class you still lose out on lecture time. Some college students will even fake an illness the day of an exam to try to get more study time. Here's the problem with that: If you weren't studying much throughout the semester, even if you get to take the test at a later date, you may still fail the exam.


Final Thoughts

There are the common cliches, "The truth shall set you free" and "Honesty is the best policy." Falsifying a physician's note to give to your boss or professor is indeed an act of professional misconduct. We all get stressed out from work, school, or other responsibilities, but that doesn't mean we should lose our integrity either. As mentioned earlier, it is unlikely that your employer or teacher would even find out that you used a fake note. However, it's crucial that you get to the root of the problem and face it head-on. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself: Do I need help with time management? Are there problems at work I can communicate to my boss? Is there additional training that I need?

While it may tempting (and easy) to create a fake medical excuse letter, please refrain from doing so.


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    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      A lot there or here. Interesting. This requires a spiritual approach according to how I see this.

      Actions of themselves have no power. With a knife I can stab someone or I can peel fruits to eat. Is the mother wrong to have an abortion? Holistically speaking, there are always many unseen forces at work, even down to karma. Nothing is ever black and white and God is not bound by rules. He is omnipotent. What matters in action is a live vibrant awareness of the power of Spirit.

      We are told that God is in our hearts, that not even a leaf falls without the Father in Heaven knowing. This means that the Inner Pilot is all-knowing and as such the only true Judge. I would say that Sincerity of purpose; Purity of intent is the key. Is the motive noble? This is paramount.

      There is a story that Guru Gobind Singh had to fight on the battlefield. One day one of his own soldiers was found tending to a sick enemy soldier and brought to his presence (the Guru) for chastisement. Guru Gobind explained that this soldier had understood his philosophy and praised him highly.

      Many people are expert in the way of cheating and your article will most certainly address some of them, but the way of the Heart or the way of Love - inner Love -- is always the Higher law. The Inner Law will mete as to be meted. Peace and blessings.