Say for instance you are a manager at Moveable Feasts – a manufacturer of a range of value added chicken products, employing 175 full and part-time workers which supplies product to a number of multiple retailers. It is 4 weeks before Christmas and you have been very busy in the run up to Christmas trying to meet the rush of orders from these multiples who are running extra in-store promotions on chicken products. Ten of your workers have been hit by a flu epidemic and are currently off sick.

One of the team leaders comes to you asking for advice. He tells you that a member of his department, Kate, was absent from work yesterday. One of her friends had telephoned to report that Kate was sick with a ‘tummy bug’ and would not be in to work that day. Kate is 18 years old, is in her first job since leaving school and has 18 months full time service with Moveable Feasts. Her performance level is acceptable. On her return to work today the team leader had enquired about her health and was informed that she was feeling much better and was able to return to her duties.

The reason the team leader has come to see you is because of something he had been shown in the canteen. At lunchtime he had been sitting eating his lunch when some of the workers had been passing round today’s copy of the Tyrone Times which was carrying a front page report of the Westlife a concert up in Belfast. The front page contained pictures of the concert, which had taken place the previous day. One of the pictures taken at the concert had caught his eye, because there in the midst of the adoring fans, was Kate. This is prima facie evidence that Kate had been at the concert. You agree with your colleague that he should interview Kate to get an explanation. You realise that this is a situation that requires careful handling. Most of the workers in the department where she works know that she reported in sick yesterday and realise that it is only a matter of time before you see the pictures in the newspaper. Consequently, they are now speculating on what you will .do with Kate.

At the interview with the team leader, Kate admits to being at the concert, but claims that the concert was in the afternoon. She insists that she was genuinely ill with a ‘stomach bug’ in the morning, but felt sufficiently better in the afternoon to attend the concert with a friend. She apologises for misinterpreting the .rules as she thought that once she had reported in sick that she was not obliged to return to work that day even if she felt better. She adds that she will know next time.

The team leader adjourns the interview in order to consider the explanation. He seeks your advice and you decide to check with the newspaper to see if they can verify when the photo was taken. When you contact the newspaper you discover that the photo showing Kate was actually taken before midday. This can be verified because the negative includes a record of the exact time the photo was taken. The team leader is now in a quandary and seeks your input because the decision has potential implications for the whole company in terms of setting a precedent. You therefore need to make a decision about what to do next and what action to take.

I would be grateful if you could detail your approach to resolving this problem by your analysis of the problem, development of your argument, justification of the outcome and application of case law.

Later it comes to light that Kate in fact purchased her ticket for the concert three weeks previously

Summarise outlining what impact if any the emergence of this new evidence would have on your decision.


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