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An employee rang in sick but THERE WERE rumours that she had actually gone on her “hen party” . The employee was pregnant and due to be married in a couple of weeks. The salon owner rang her at home several times without success, she also sent texts.

In the evening she made another call and surprisingly got an international dialling tone.

The employee then texted one of her colleagues saying she was sick and would be off for a few days.

On her return to work the salon owner suspended her.

During the investigation the employee was adamant that she had been sick at home and had actually been seen by her GP at home.

Despite aggression and complaints about human rights etc. the employer asked for

I. A letter from the GP confirming they had visited her

II. An itemised copy of her phone bill to show no international calls had been made.

Suddenly it wasn’t her GP but a GP friend of her parents who happened to be visiting and she refused permission to contact them. Apparently an itemised account of the phone bill wasn’t available until the end of the month.

Suggestions of sex discrimination relating to her pregnancy then began to be raised and the stakes got higher. The employee did provide a sick note from her GP but it was retrospectively signed after the date of her absence. But, even this was a photocopy!

There were other issues about her performance but these were quite separate.

We felt we had pushed as far as we could about the “family” friend GP. The employee was adamant she had been in the sick bed and the itemised phone bill (which wasn’t available through her internet account) would have no international activities.

Her suspension was lifted and the assurance the phone bill would be provided at the end of the month.

On the first day back she saw her first client and then went home but worked normally on the second day.

On the following Monday she met with the following salon owner and following another altercation she resigned. Once again there were claims of discrimination and how she and her colleagues hadn’t welcomed her back (during the incidents she had deleted them as friends and cancelled their wedding invitations).

The employer stuck to her guns, the employee didn’t return and didn’t take her claim to Employment Tribunal (as she had threatened). The itemised phone bill never actually materialised! The employer is now seeking recovery of the training costs through the small claims courts.

It would have been very easy not to pursue this case. We had a pregnant employee, lots of threats of sex discrimination and claims of personal harassment. However, the bottom line is the employer had reasonable reason to believe the employee had not been sick and had been abroard. She achieved a successful outcome.

David Wright Personnel

Phone - 01302 563 691

Mobile - 07930 358 067