Living in the UK we consider ourselves lucky if we get one or two weeks of glorious sunshine. For the first time this year we’re finally enjoying high temperatures making us all want to head to the beer garden or beach. However statistics show that during a period of hot weather more employees tend to “pull a sickie” and more often than not are being caught on social media with a beer glass in hand, large black sunglasses and a huge grin on their face!
So what can you do if you find an employee to be “pulling a sickie” when they are not actually ill?
Recent case law has confirmed that an employee who is “pulling a sickie”, when they are not actually ill or as sick as they claim to be, can amount to a fundamental breach of contract, giving the employer the right to dismiss! The Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed an employee who misrepresents their illness or condition could be acting dishonestly amounting to misconduct or even gross misconduct.
However our advice is not to act until you have investigated! With the focus being on the level of dishonesty, as that is at the heart of the employer/employee relationship you need to be able to demonstrate you had reasonable grounds for belief in the misconduct following a reasonable investigation. To do this you may look at whether this is a one off incident or repeat behaviour and gather evidence of the employee not actually being too sick for work for example from social media, medical evidence or even from a direct admission following a return to work interview.
Be aware that “pulling a sickie” when you do have the ability to work could amount to a breach of contract!
Should you have any queries on this matter or any other employment law issues please get in touch with our employment law solicitor Laura Kirkpatrick.