Naga Munchetty debate sick leave row with Charlie Mullins
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Following the revelations that a man was wrongly sacked by an employer after being spotted at the pub while off sick, Naga Munchetty seized the opportunity to question another boss about the decision. Colin Kane, 66, was axed from his job of almost eight years after he was seen by a manager while saying he was suffering from his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD].
I don’t understand what you think they’ve done wrong
During a discussion on her BBC Radio 5 Live show, Naga, 46, clashed with Charlie Mullins, CEO of Pimlico Plumbers.
Mr Mullins had claimed that Colin had been in the wrong and urged his employer, Debmat Surfacing, to take the case to the supreme court.
Kane had been seen “several times” outside a bar in March 2020 while drinking and smoking but admits that he had seen “nothing wrong” with his decision to visit the establishment.
Tribunal Judge Andrea Pitt ruled that Mr Kane had been unfairly dismissed and the firm had not undertaken a fair disciplinary process.
While discussing the topic, Naga asked Mr Mullins: “If every employee of yours had called in sick, and then went next door to their next-door neighbours and had a pint there, is that a stackable offence?”
To which Mullins replied: “Hold on, you’re saying next-door neighbour?”
“No, no, I’m asking this question, I want to know where the lines up when it comes to an employer and what they believe is appropriate behaviour when you call in sick,” said Naga.
Mr Mullins added: “I would say the same thing because this guy says,” before instantly being cut off by Naga.
“So you’re not allowed to socialise?” she asked.
Mullins quipped: “Well, no, you’re not allowed to go out drinking in a social pub, smoking, whereas he’s already saying he’s off work because he’s got a bad lung condition.”
Putting the plumbing boss on the spot, Naga said: “I’m sorry, I probably wasn’t clear, let’s separate this and let’s forget about this person and this person’s particular case.
“I’m asking you as an employer, [if] one of your employees calls in sick, ‘I’m not feeling well, Charlie, and I have a bad back, I don’t think I can do my job today, I’m taking the day off sick’. That person then goes to the pub or next door to the neighbour’s and has a drink. Would you sack them for that?”
In a split second, Mullins exclaimed: “Undoubtedly!”
“I don’t understand what you think they’ve done wrong?” added Naga.
“They say they’re not capable to come to work but they’re capable to go out drinking with their friends, and look, use a bit of common sense here Naga, I know you’re a bright lady,” fumed Charlie.
He went on to add: “I mean, everyone can see through this one, except the judge. I mean, there’s one other person that needs sacking here and that’s the judge, she needs to be put out of work immediately!”
The PA News agency reports that Mr Kane had been informed that there was a photo of him drinking outside the club, although he was not told when it was taken.
Mr Kane was fired for a “breach of trust and dishonesty”, the judgment said.
Judge Pitt said: “It was also put to the claimant he should not be in a public house because he was absent through ill health.
“There is nothing in the disciplinary procedure prohibiting an employee from acting in this way.”
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