Sick worker entitled to rest, judge rules

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A sick worker is entitled to rest and not to be hassled and made to worry about his work, the Employment Relations Court has ruled.

Justice Angela Wati stated this in her April 1 ruling, while upholding an Employment Relations Tribunal (ERT) ruling on February 22 2017 that ordered Goundar Shipping Services to pay an employee three months wages for unlawful dismissal and three months wages for unfair dismissal to compensate for the humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to the feelings of the employee.

Pili Ieli was terminated from work on December 13 2013 after he produced a sick sheet and did not report to work.

“I do not endorse the employer’s views that Mr Ieli needed to have his sick sheet approved,” said Justice Wati.

“This may hold true for annual leave, but if a worker falls sick and is not able to work, he need not have to wait for the employer to approve his leave.

“That would be most absurd because in that situation, the employee would be expected to work until his sick leave is approved.”

Mr Ieli was terminated through a text message sent to him by the shipping company’s manager finance Rakesh Prasad.

“I have no reason to overturn the decision of the ERT that through the text message, the worker had accepted that he was terminated.

“I also find the termination to be unfair.

“I accept that Mr Ieli was terminated by the text message of Mr Rakesh. In terminating him, he was not treated fairly as he was definitely harassed when he was sick and put to unnecessary inconvenience.

“This action does not show good conduct on the part of the employer in dismissing him. I uphold the orders of the ERT. The employer is to comply with the orders of the ERT within 21 days from the date of this judgment. I also order costs in favour of the employee in the sum of $3000 to be paid within 21 days.”

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