The simple answer to this question is yes, you can be sacked for pulling a sickie, as lying to your employer is classed as misconduct.
The issue was recently illustrated in the tribunal case of Ross Collins v Steris IMS Ltd.
Mr Collins was a manager at the medical firm Steris Instrument Management Services at the time of the incident in October 2018.
He told his employer that he was sick with a tummy ache and needed to go home as his pregnant partner was also unwell, but just three hours later he was pictured on social media enjoying a pint at Gatwick Airport prior to boarding a flight bound for Larnaca, Cyprus.
He was sacked for gross misconduct but brought a tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, claiming that he was owed overtime and was merely taking his time back.
However, the tribunal concluded that Mr Collins was dismissed for lying to his employer and that there was every reason to believe that in order to arrive at the airport on time for his flight, he had pulled a sickie to leave work early.
Pretending to be sick when you are not might seem like a relatively minor offence, but the truth is it amounts to dishonesty and misrepresentation, which equals misconduct – a fair reason for dismissal.
Of course, employers must follow a fair process when dismissing a member of staff, but providing this is adhered to, as the case of Ross Collins proves, there should be no grounds for unfair dismissal.
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