Over the upcoming weeks, when Carl the Custodian is missing from your workplace, you may want to give your local Hooters Restaurant a call. He just might be there watching the NCAA tournament.

Hooters has unveiled a marvelous marketing ploy to get customers through their doors during the NCAA tournament -- the Company is offering doctor's notes excusing employees from work on March 17 and 18 for any one of a number of basketball-related "medical" issues. Of course, the doctor's note, entitled "Hooters National Hooky Day," is fake and nothing more than a ploy to rake in a larger share of college basketball fans. In fact, Hooters' official Rules (pdf) make it clear that the employee should look for alternative employment if he/she submits the doctor's note as "an actual excuse to stay out of work."

But Hooters clearly is onto something. According to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., an outplacement firm, employee time spent viewing NCAA tournament games online during the work day will cost employers 8.4 million hours in lost productivity which, when multiplied by “the average hourly earnings … among private-sector workers [makes] the financial impact exceed $192 million.”

Take your best guess as to how FMLA leave will be impacted by the NCAA tourney. Suffice it to say, however, that HR professionals and leave administrators may have a busy next couple of weeks. To combat Family and Medical Leave Act abuse during the NCAA tourney (and throughout the year), feel free to browse our previous posts on the topic here and here.