Michael Jackson fans pull ‘sickie’ after shock of singer’s death

News that Michael Jackson is dead will take the world by storm today with distraught fans likely to avoid going into work.

Tweets on social networking site Twitter already list employees from across the globe admitting that they will tell their boss they are going to pull a ‘sickie’ at work, too upset to face a day in the office.

One tweet said: “Since Michael Jackson is dead I’m not going to work!! I’m gonna tell my boss that I’m too sad to come in.” Another demonstrates just how distracted Michael Jackson lovers will be at work, if they turn up. “Still at work…watchin michael jackson videos on youtube,” it said.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development told Personnel Today it was possible that people would take time off work today in response to the news that Jackson had died. A spokesman said: “There’s all sorts of reasons why people take absence off work, it is possible that this news [Jackson’s death] could be one reason, in the same was that people could be taking time off to watch Wimbledon.”

He added employers should use common sense when dealing with employees who took time off work because of Michael Jackson dying. “This is a matter of common sense and judgement in HR departments. It [Jackson’s death] is clearly not a valid reason for taking time off, but members should follow our normal guidance absence, such as carrying out return-to-work interviews,” he said.

Celebrity website TMZ first broke the news last night (UK time), shortly followed by mainstream newspaper LA Times. News reels in Britain reported the singer, famous for smash hits Thriller, Beat It and Billie Jean, was reportedly dead, but it took the BBC in particular a while to confirm it as truth.

Jackson, due to begin a 50-date sell-out tour next month, died of cardiac arrest in his home. He arrived at the LA hospital already unconscious and doctors were unable to save him.

Read Personnel Today’s Blog: Are you affected by the news? Will you take the day off work or do you suspect your team mates might? Tell us your views.

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