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.


Who Will You Be Entrusting With Your Conveyancing? image

Who Will You Be Entrusting With Your Conveyancing?

WHO WILL YOU BE ENTRUSTING WITH YOUR CONVEYANCING WORK?  THE CHOICE IS YOURS!

Are the selling agents or perhaps the mortgage broker pushing or trying to persuade you to use a particular conveyancing firm? If so, we would strongly recommend that you ask the following pertinent questions so that, armed with all relevant facts, you are better able to make a reasoned decision:-

Why?

Are the agents receiving a kickback or referral payment from the firm concerned? Using a firm in cahoots with an estate agency inevitably leads to a potential conflict of interest. Will such firm be working in your best interests or simply those of the introducer? Here at Maples we pride ourselves on being completely independent and we consider the idea of a referral fee both abhorrent and unethical. We much prefer to obtain our work based on past performance and recommendation.

How Much?

Do not be misled by a seemingly attractive basic figure initially quoted but be sure to enquire about and read the small print for add ons for so called “extras” (such as mortgage costs, preparation of a stamp duty land tax return, telegraphic transfer fees and the like) which suddenly spring up at a later date and only become apparent in the firm’s final statement. Ensure that you are comparing like for like. Here at Maples, we give you a complete and all inclusive rundown of our professional charges and all disbursements at the outset, with no hidden extras.

Where?

Is the firm local or, as is more likely, based in a completely different part of the country? If the latter, then the transaction will, without a doubt, be dealt with by post, phone or email and lack any personal contact. Here at Maples we are fully accessible, like to meet our clients to discuss and advise upon the transaction face to face and share with you the benefit of our wealth of local knowledge and experience.

Who?

Will you actually be aware as to who will be dealing with the matter for you or will you simply be a reference or matter number at the end of a phone in a firm dealing with volume conveyancing? Here at Maples, you will be assigned to your own experienced and dedicated conveyancer who will be responsible for and deal with the transaction for you from beginning to end, with a high level of personal service throughout.

Making a hasty and bad appointment could seriously prejudice or delay your transaction and cost you dearly. Getting honest answers to these four simple questions at the outset could make all the difference.

To discuss any Conveyancing matters please contact either Claire Smith or Anita Zaborniak of our Conveyancing Team or telephone the office 01775 722261.

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Testimonials

Gemma Mayer LLB

"I would highly recommend Maples Solicitors, especially Gemma Mayer, for any conveyancing work. The level of support and professionalism was excellent at all times. I also felt if I needed to ask or clarify anything that it was not an issue. Buying and selling a house is stressful enough, but Gemma helped me through it step by step."

Anita Toal LLB BA

"I think you are brilliant. You can use my comments above. You are efficient, friendly and quite clearly very good at what you do. Mainly you don’t leave people hanging around too long for." "So easy to talk to her and she understood what I wanted. She put me at ease and I cant thank her enough"

Daven Naghen LLB

"I felt the service I got from Maples was excellent and was very honest all through the process. I would recommend Maples as a first class Solicitors group"

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

This is the second time we have used Mike Pepper at Maples Solicitors in the sale of our house. We cannot praise Mike enough for the highly efficient and professional service that he has provided us with. He is by far the best solicitor we have ever worked with, and the service that he has provided us with has gone far and beyond anything we have ever experienced. We have found the whole process to be a very relaxing experience.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!

Anita Zaborniak

We found it a pleasure to deal with Anita Zaborniak, she was most helpful and informative and kept us up to date with the progress of the purchase of our new home. If we were to move again we wouldn’t hesitate to use Maples again.