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The Sun’s Out – Thinking of Pulling a Sickie?!

So after a heavy weekend with lots of socialising with friends and a couple of glasses of wine, the thought of facing 100 unread emails as you wake up on Monday morning may be a little too much; you call your boss and tell him that you couldn’t possibly come in as you’ve got this ‘terrible bug that’s going round at the moment’ before using your day to do something far more exciting.

BEWARE! Everyone nowadays uses social media and it is not difficult for someone to track your whereabouts at any time of day.

The recent case of Ajaj v Metroline West Ltd has ruled that pulling a sickie could potentially be grounds for gross misconduct. If an employer can prove that they have reasonable grounds for believing that the employee is guilty of misconduct they may have grounds for dismissal – provided they have evidence to support their allegations.

Mr Ajaj had an accident at work and his employer believed he was exaggerating his injuries, taking more time off sick than they believed to be reasonable. Taking extreme measures, the employer arranged for recordings of Mr Ajaj to be taken in a bid to support their arguments. Though this seems like an extreme step by the employer, in a normal day-to-day scenario a boss may see something on Facebook which could be relied upon in a sickness-absence investigation meeting.

There have been several cases over the past few years of individuals making comments on social media, only for their employer to take action against them:

In the case of Crisp v Apple Retail, an employee made disparaging comments online about his employer and the company’s products. An employment tribunal found that the comments could damage the employer’s reputation

In Whitham v Club 24 an employee made comments about her colleagues on social media. She was dismissed as it was felt that the comments could damage business relationships.

So next time you check you and your friends into a bar at 02.30am on a Friday morning, remind yourself you have got work at 9!

If you think you have been mistreated by your employer or you’re having trouble with your employees, call Andrea Evans on 01926 499889 to discuss how we may be able to help.

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