CHICAGO (CBS)– City of Chicago employees used both paid and unpaid family medical leave to take multiple Caribbean cruises, where they allegedly drank alcohol on a “booze cruise,” went clubbing and toured tropical islands–according to the Office of Inspector General’s first quarterly report of 2019.
An inspector general official tells CBS 2 that “some” of that time qualified as paid leave.
The report says four police communications operators with the City of Chicago’s Emergency Management and Communications office abused the department’s family medical leave policy by claiming illness as a reason to be away from work.
Instead of recovering from being sick, however, the employees jet-setted down to the Caribbean for multiple cruises, according to the allegations in the report.
“The [police communications operators] consumed alcohol, went to numerous restaurants, attended night clubs, toured Caribbean islands, went horseback riding, rode jet skis, and even went on a ‘booze cruise,’ ” the report said.
Two of the employees took a combined 10 cruises, using family medical leave time to get off work. Another staff member used 19 family medical leave days to to take two cruises in 2014 and 2017.
At least one of the staff members referenced in the report went as far as to get a doctor’s note excusing them from work.
Investigators interviewed one doctor who said he recommended bed rest for one of the patients, and said he did not know that the patient instead intended to go on a cruise.
One of the employees mentioned in the report allegedly submitted a time-off slip that indicated he intended to have surgery. Instead, he went on a cruise.
The OEMC has fired three of the employees mentioned in the report, and the fourth staff member quit.