A landmark case in the UK has found that it’s okay for you to call in sick for work and still show up to the pub later for a few beers.
The case appeared before the courts after a British man claimed he was unfairly dismissed for doing exactly that.
Colin Kane, from Newcastle in England, called his boss at Debmat Surfacing – a road works company – on March 9 last year to say he was feeling unwell.
Kane, who was a known smoker, said he was ill from a serious lung condition, The Metro reports.
However, later that day, a coworker spotted Kane at a pub near work, drinking and smoking.
The 66-year-old was dropped from the company several months later.
Kane’s bosses called him immediately after he was reported as being at the pub.
He told them ”he had been in bed all day with his chest,” the court heard.
His boss called him into a meeting where he was told: “Surely if you had been unfit for work and on antibiotics, you shouldn’t be in the pub”.
The company took disciplinary action against him.
In July 2020, four months after he had lied, he was fired for being dishonest and breaching the company’s rules, according to The Metro.
However, on Tuesday the judge ruled that he had been illegally terminated from his employment.
Andrea Pitt, the judge, said there were no rules in the company explicitly stating that workers couldn’t socialise while off sick.
She condemned the company for making a “gross assumption” that Kane couldn’t go to the pub.
“There is no rule (the company) can point to, which says that an employee cannot socialise in whatever way they deem appropriate whilst absent from work through illness,” she said.
Kane will find out his compensation at a later date.