Exaggerated Injury, Fair Dismissal

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Metroline West Ltd v Ajaj

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has made it clear that a worker who dishonestly claims to be unfit for work, breaches the trust and confidence that an employee and employer must share.

Mr Ajaj, a bus driver, said he slipped and fell at work, injuring himself to the extent that he was unable to do his job. Surveillance evidence showed that he was more mobile than he said he was. A gross misconduct dismissal followed.

Unfair dismissal, held the tribunal. Even though Mr Ajaj had exaggerated his inability to walk, there was no evidence that he had exaggerated his inability to do his job. But the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) overturned that decision. Whether or not someone is fit to do their job goes to capability, not conduct. Mr Ajaj had exaggerated the effects of his injury. That was culpable and misleading. Dismissal for gross misconduct was the obvious sanction, and certainly a reasonable one. So Metroline’s decision to dismiss Mr Ajaj was fair.