Pulling a Sickie

10th August 2016
Pulling a Sickie image

Pulling a Sickie

Introduction

2016 has been a very interesting year with important and significant cases in the field of employment law.  One of the most interesting cases was that of Ajaj v Metroline West Ltd where the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) held that pulling a sickie could be a matter of gross misconduct which could justify a dismissal.

The Facts

Mr Ajaj was a bus driver for Metroline West Ltd.  He had an accident at work where he slipped on a wet floor and then claimed that he was unfit to work due to a foot injury.  Although his injury was supported with evidence from a physiotherapist and an occupational health adviser, Metroline West Ltd had its doubts.  As a result they undertook covert surveillance of Mr Ajaj and obtained footage of him walking swiftly and carrying large bags while shopping.  As a result they started a disciplinary process against him on the grounds that he made a false claim for sick pay, that he misrepresented his ability to attend work and made a false claim of an injury at work.  He was subsequently dismissed by Metroline West Ltd.  Mr Ajaj claimed unfair dismissal.  Initially the Employment Tribunal found in his favour, but Metroline West Ltd appealed to the EAT.

The Decision

The EAT found that the Employment Tribunal had been mistaken in considering the fairness of the dismissal upon the grounds of capability, since the Tribunal found that notwithstanding evidence of exaggeration of the ability to walk there was no evidence that Mr Ajaj had exaggerated his ability to perform his contractual/work duties.   The EAT held that the Tribunal’s consideration of capability was irrelevant as this was a matter of misconduct.  In fact the EAT held that since the Claimant had exaggerated the effects of this injury then this was gross misconduct as it was an act of dishonesty and a fundamental breach of trust and competence.

Analysis

Daven Naghen, head of our Employment Team has commented on the case as follows:-

“This case is good news for employers, as provided the employer has reasonable grounds for believing the employee is pulling a sickie it may consider summary dismissal upon the basis that dishonesty about illness/injury is gross misconduct.  Hence for example an employee ringing up and putting on a croaky voice claiming a cold, when just hung over, may run the risk of dismissal if the employer has or obtains evidence of this dishonesty.  Employees now know that pulling a sickie is a very risky business.”

If you are an employer or an employee and require advice on any issue relating to sickness absence/dismissal then please contact Daven Naghen on 01775 722261 or email daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com or visit our offices or arrange an appointment at our offices at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE11 1DH.


How Banks are Cashing in on Wills image

How Banks are Cashing in on Wills

Recent headlines have reported how banks are now cashing in on Wills.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, banks offered customers low cost Wills (or sometimes even free Wills) but the small print allowed the bank to charge extortionate rates to act as Executors. It is reported that banks are expecting billions of pounds of revenue from their Will writing services and administering estates and in some cases their fees have been over £12,000 to administer an estate as they look to charge a fixed fee PLUS a percentage of the deceased’s wealth.

If you or a loved one has made a Will through a bank we would urge you to check who you have appointed as Executors and check any small print which you may have signed. If you are unsure then please speak with one of our lawyers in the Wills and Probate team who can look at your existing Will with you. It may be appropriate to make a new Will which revokes any previous Will you have made which could save your family thousands of pounds when your estate needs to be administered.

In the majority of cases, when someone has passed away we can provide the family with a quote of how much the legal fees will be so that there are no nasty surprises once the administration is complete.

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