For the last few days, Belfast has enjoyed some unexpected sunshine with temperatures rivalling those of European holiday destinations like Spain and Italy. Summer seems to have arrived … though for how long is anyone’s guess!
The last place many people want to be during the hot weather is in work – most of us would rather be dusting off the BBQs and basking in the sunshine. However, if you’re considering “pulling a sickie” to avail of what may be the only few days of a Northern Irish summer, think again!
The Employment Appeal Tribunal in England dealt with the case of Metroline West Ltd v Mr Ajaj and has held that ‘pulling a sickie’ is dishonest and a fundamental breach of contract. Mr Ajaj was a bus driver and although he was injured whilst at work, he falsely claimed to be worse than he was. He wasn’t off for just one day however he was caught out exaggerating his injury as his employer had him under covert surveillance.
The Tribunal that dealt with the case initially held that the fairness of dismissal should be assessed on ‘capability’ considerations however, the Employment appeal tribunal disagreed. The Judge dealing with the appeal stated that “an employee (who) “pulls a sickie” is representing that he is unable to attend work by reason of sickness. If that person is not sick, that seems to me to amount to dishonesty and to a fundamental breach of the trust and confidence that is at the heart of the employer/employee relationship.”
You have been warned!