Mr Ibrahim Ajaj was an employee at Metroline West Ltd (“Metroline”) for 10 years and was dismissed for gross misconduct for deceptively alleging that he could no longer perform his duties after an injury at work. His allegation was supported by an occupational health advisor and physiotherapist.
However Metroline decided to covertly survey him and hired an external doctor to verify his injuries. The findings by the external doctor revealed that Mr Ajaj’s injuries were inconsistent with his descriptions and Metroline suspected he had made his injuries up to profit from sick pay.
He was invited to a disciplinary hearing, and dismissed. Thereafter he issued legal proceedings. The Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that the Employer had a potentially fair reason to dismiss Mr Ajaj.
Where does the Tribunal decision leave the employee who takes the occasional ‘sick day’?
Can you be dismissed for ‘taking a sick day’ for no apparent good reason? At the outset, few employers would go to the lengths of surveying their employees for a few days off sick. Secondly, in many cases it might be disproportionate to dismiss an employee for calling in sick because, say, he is hung over. However, lying is dishonesty and dishonesty can facilitate an employee’s dismissal. In any event, the employer’s handbook can be consulted to fully understand the implications.
There is also an implied relationship of trust between employer and employee that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If an employee takes multiple days off, while deceptively alleging to be sick, the question begs whether he should be working at a job he has little passion for.
It is important for both employers and employees to understand their obligations and rights.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our employment law solicitor, John Porter, on 0161 624 6811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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