‘Pulling a Sickie’

George Heron

George Heron

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Phone 01952 566918

20 April 2016

Metroline West v Ajaj

This case concerned a bus driver who the employer suspected was claiming to be more sick than he actually was. The suspicions were confirmed when the employer arranged covert surveillance of the employee attending a sickness absence interview. This revealed that the level of mobility exhibited by the employee was inconsistent with what he was claiming. Subsequent surveillance of the employee demonstrated this yet further and the Company commenced disciplinary proceedings, which ultimately ended in dismissal.

The employee claimed unfair dismissal and the case was taken to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). What the EAT found was that the actions of the employee were dishonest and a fundamental breach of contract. This breach of contract constituted a reasonable grounds for dismissal.

It must be stressed that this particular case involved an employee who had clearly been shown to be exaggerating his symptoms. An employer who fails to conduct a reasonable investigation, compile sufficient evidence or follow a fair process will almost certainly be facing a claim for unfair dismissal. However, if you are able to show that there is a strong probability that the employee has been dishonest in reporting their sickness, this case confirms that dismissal may be a viable option.

At Alpha, we have a vast experience in providing bespoke, practical advice on HR and employment law issues. This includes guiding clients through every stage of the dismissal process. We are proud of our commercial outlook and do not sit on the fence. If you would like to have Alpha on your side, please feel free to contact us.

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