I mean regardless of the situation, though, it is lying. You can justify it to yourself all you want, saying the company owes you whatever, or you have to because you're out of vacation and you have no choice, or it's a victimless crime... but however you rationalize it - it's lying.if i worked in an environment where people seemed to be poised with scrutiny and ready to investigate or make conjectures about the validity of a person's absense (harassment), i wouldn't even care at that point. and i am being perfectly honest.It is actually stealing from the company - if you are leaving you get paid out for your unused vacation. If you used a sick day instead of a vacation day, you're lying and taking money from the company that is undeserved.
to me, if someone is ready to leave her job, why should it matter to those who are left behind if she covers her interview days with sick time or vacation time? either way, she's still leaving.
That being said, I don't really care what my coworkers do, but for me, that is a reason that I would not lie and use sick time for an interview. That's what vacation time is for, why wouldn't I just use the appropriate designation?
also, some companies make it difficult for their staff to take unplanned time off. and since you can't predict a sick day (and i'm not talking about a scheduled doc. appt.), how else would you explain an interview that you may not want anyone to know about, but that is planned for the end of the week, when you know that you've already turned in your planned personal time off for the year? i've been fortunate to mostly escape working for employers like that. but my sister, a friend's mother, another friend's husband, work for companies that make it difficult not only for them to take an afternoon off for a discreet interview, but even to leave for other pressing reasons like childcare, car problems, family matters, etc. my sister went months trying to get her car fixed on the weekends because she couldn't take off during the week to get a mechanic to look at it. and it wasn't that she didn't have time accrued (she had plenty of unused vacation time); it was that if she wasn't sick and ready to produce a doctor's note, it would have been difficult to convince the "powers that be" to let her take an unplanned day off, car problems or not. these are very real scenarios that people have to make allowances for. not everyone can work for considerate corporations or work around coworkers who respect your personal affairs.
so when someone has used down her vacation time and has a couple of sick days left and needs a mental health day to relax at home or run leisure errands, that is none of my business and i wouldn't think she's sneaky or dishonest for doing it. i wouldn't even know about it to have an opinion about it.
And again, I really don't care what other people do at work if it doesn't affect me personally, whether they are lying through their teeth or not - for me, I know what my company's policy is for PTO and I would prefer to use it honestly and manage my vacation time so I don't have to lie and risk being caught in a lie and being in an awkward situation at work or potentially even risking my job.
I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but I still keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.