Workforce Planning Hero

Faking It and HR Superheroes

November 09, 2021
Inside HR
HR Compliance
Read time: 3 mins

I’ve been pondering the changing role of the HR professional, particularly over the last year--yes, once again COVID raises its hand! Personally, I think HR deserves superhero status, but I just can’t come up with a catchy name. On top of being asked to become public health specialists (Contact tracing anyone?), and pseudo-medical practitioners (explaining the difference between isolation and quarantine), we now are faced with learning to identify fake vaccination cards if we are an employer that has or will have to implement a vaccination mandate.

It is a growing problem. The internet has spawned cottage industries of people marketing fake vaccination cards. The number of individuals getting caught using them or selling them is increasing and the costs associated with them are high. Some imitations are more obvious than others, such as the Illinois woman who, on her trip to Hawaii, provided a vaccination card showing she had been vaccinated with “Maderna” vaccine. She could be fined up to $5,000 under state law. The practice of using fraudulent cards is not limited to vacationers. Recently, an NHL player was suspended for 21 games when he allegedly used a fake vaccination card in response to the league’s COVID-19 policy. Three Vermont state troopers were forced to resign after being accused of playing a role in manufacturing counterfeit vaccination cards.

So, what is an HR superhero to do?

Workforce Planning Hero

If you suspect that an employee has presented a falsified vaccine card, you have the option of administering disciplinary action up to and including termination. Make sure you follow your policies related to falsification of documentation when determining the steps you will take.

When evaluating the validity of vaccination cards, consider the following:

  1. Are there inconsistencies on the card that warrant further review? For example, are there misspelled names, missing lot numbers, inconsistent dates, or does the card appear to be fully printed rather than showing some handwritten elements, etc.
  2. Be consistent in how you apply your practices. Determine the various reasons you would become suspicious of a card and apply those factors consistently.
  3. Document the reason(s) you are seeking additional information. Logging the objective, non-discriminatory reason that you believe the card needed clarification will assist in showing consistency in your process.
  4. Be cognizant that this is a sensitive subject, keeping in mind the strong emotions that this topic can generate. Be respectful and non-accusatory when addressing your suspicion and focus on the objective factors that need clarification.
  5. Ensure your policies are clear. Communicating the purpose, expectations (including that all employees are expected to be truthful and accurate in reporting their status) and consequences associated with violating the policy clearly and timely will help administer the program consistently.

We may not be faster than a speeding bullet, have super speed or strength, the ability to shapeshift or the power of invisibility, but we do possess super observation and communication powers that we use for good to protect the safety of our employees.