A man who was fired from his job after taking 808 sick days has successfully won a tribunal in which he claimed his former employee, Jaguar Land Rover, had terminated his employment unfairly. Vic Rumbold was employed at a manufacturing plant in the West Midlands in the UK for nearly 20 years but was eventually let go after racking up such a huge amount of absences due to various health difficulties over a period of several years. Now, the company will have to pay an undetermined settlement for the job loss.
- Nearly half of Rumbold’s absences happened in the last four years. A company employment review performed by Launch manager Jon Carter in 2018 discovered Rumbold’s extensive absences, estimating the cost to the company to be somewhere around £100,000. “Honestly, worst absence record I have ever seen,” Carter told the tribunal. “Eight hundred and eight shifts, price to organization is almost £100,000. There is not one year since 2000 with full attendance record.“
- Rumbold was fired on the grounds of “conduct and capability.” That happened in December 2018 following the review, but Tribunal Judge Johnson ruled that Jaguar Land Rover seriously messed up in how they handled the situation as they “‘had not reasonably reached a stage under that process where they could consider dismissal.”
- To be fair, Rumbold did experience serious health issues. Not only did he develop hip issues in 2018 that would eventually lead to the need for a complete hip replacement but he was also diagnosed with a pain condition known as avascular necrosis disease. Both of these things led to him being out of work between March 12 and August 18, 2018. He was given a trial on a job that could be completed while he was sitting but was moved within a week to a job that required being on his feet regularly.
- The judge believes Rumbold should have been given a warning. Judge Johnson criticized Jaguar Land Rover for never discussing Rumbold’s attention with him and offering him counseling or other solutions to get it under control. They also never warned him that further infractions may result in the termination of his employment, giving credence to Rumbold’s claim.
- Now, Jaguar Land Rover will have to pay out. While it’s currently unclear how much they’ll pay Rumbold for terminating his employment, Rumbold was the clear winner here. Johnson said in his ruling: “Had Mr. Carter properly considered what was the latest medical advice available – and which he had access to at the time of the employment review, he would have been able to consider whether these relatively simple measures could be accommodated into the claimant’s trial role, to enable him to complete the trial and to enable the respondent whether a return to a full upstanding role was possible.”