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Sick IT worker rides 66 miles and gets fired

Karl Flinders

A council IT worker who claimed unfair dismissal for being sacked while on sick leave has lost his case.

An employment tribunal in Exeter heard that Andrew Hamlyn from Newton Abbot, who was off work for 92 days with a viral infection, took part in a 66-mile cycle race while off sick.

Teignbridge Council, where Hamlyn was an information officer responsible for electronic government, told Computer Weekly that the tribunal had ruled in its favour and rejected Hamlyn’s unfair dismissal claim.

He was claiming unfair dismissal. But his former employers told the employment tribunal that Hamlyn took part in the Dartmoor Devil Endurance race less than three weeks after he was signed off sick with a viral chest infection and stress-related illness in October 2007.

The council said Hamlyn’s first day sick was 9 October 2007 and he was dismissed on 17 January 2008.

Tim Borrett, spokesman for Teignbridge Council, said: "Mr Hamlyn did not respond to any attempt to reach him over a three-month period, leaving the council with little option but to dismiss him."

 "The health and wellbeing of staff is one of our top priorities, and we always try to act in sensitive and understanding manner when addressing long term sickness absence, making every effort to discuss employees' health issues and provide assistance.  This may involve arranging an NHS Occupational Health appointment and investigating flexible working arrangements.
 
 The Dartmoor Devil is an extreme bike race across Dartmoor.


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