We are a relatively new company with just 9 employees. My question relates to a member of staff who has been in our employ for just 6 weeks. One day last week, she called us around 6pm to say she wouldn’t be in the next day as she’d been vomiting all night and all day. She stated she’d been to the doctors and had been told she had gastroenteritis. She was seen, however, by her supervisor only a couple of hours before, in the town centre (approximately 8 miles from her home) eating a sandwich and apparently in high spirits, window shopping with her disabled mother.

She maintains that she was ill, but that “you have to get on with things – ill or not – when you have a disabled parent”.

Whilst we agree with that sentiment entirely (and, had she asked, would have happily given her time off to help out her mother), her appearance in the town centre and general demeanour lead us to believe that she lied about her sickness. The nature of our business makes it vitally important that we have complete trust in our employees – we feel this trust has been broken and we are now considering dismissal.

My questions are – are we within our rights to dismiss her? And if so, should what route should we take? (e.g. should we go through the ‘hearing’ stages)

Many thanks

Darren Lovatt