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If you’re well enough to go to the races, you’re well enough to come to work!
That was the view of a Gloucestershire Constabulary disciplinary panel when they found that PC Jonathan Adams had been to Ascot when he had told them that he was suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and was too ill to go to work.

Unfortunately for PC Adams, he was seen on Channel 4’s live coverage, jumping around for joy in the Royal Enclosure, when a horse owned by a syndicate he belonged to had won a race.

On further investigation it was found that this was not the first time the constable had “thrown a sickie.” On two previous occasions it was found that he had called in sick – once with IBS symptoms and on another occasion he had complained of a migraine. On both occasions it was found (using car number plate tracking systems) that he had gone to the races.

Having had his request for leave turned down for the week of Royal Ascot, clearly he had simply pretended that he was not well enough to work. The Constabulary said it did not dispute the fact that he was ill – but having seem him jump around without any obvious pain or discomfort, believed that he was well enough to come to work. They did not believe his claim that going to the races was therapeutic for him and dismissed him without notice on the grounds of gross misconduct.

Many employers will be familiar with the feeling that sometimes employees are not as ill as they claim and won’t necessarily have the ability to check up on them as easily as the police do. Unless you have evidence to the contrary, the assumption has to be that the individual is genuinely unwell. However, if you have concerns that perhaps an employee is not being entirely truthful about their sick leave, please get in touch for help and advice in managing that situation.
Posted on 21 Jul 2017

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