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Q: Last year, one of our employees asked for a day’s holiday the previous day and this was rejected due to the short notice and problems it would cause the business due to other staff absences. He rang in sick the following day and was then spotted by several of his colleagues sitting behind the Umpire’s chair on Wimbledon’s Centre Court! How should we deal with this?

A: If you have proven evidence that the employee’s absence was not due to genuine illness, then the matter must be treated as a disciplinary issue.

A thorough investigation must be carried out with written statements by the employees who watched the TV footage of the tennis match and the employee should be challenged during an investigatory meeting and asked for his view on the incriminating evidence. It may be possible with today’s technology to watch the match again on IPlayer or something similar.

If the outcome of the investigation suggests that there has been an abuse of your absence procedure and unauthorised absence, then the Company’s disciplinary procedure should be invoked.

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