A driver was sacked after he was seen drinking in a social club having told his employer he was too ill to work.

Colin Kane, who is 66 and has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was fired by Debmat Surfacing in Gateshead, after he was seen smoking outside a social club in March 2020.

Judge Andrea Pitt ruled that Mr Kane had been unfairly dismissed as he was found not to have broken the company’s rules and that the firm had not undertaken a fair disciplinary process.

Mr Kane was seen by Debmat Surfacing’s contracts manager Shaun Johnson outside a social club near his workplace on 9 March last year despite having told bosses he had been “bad in bed all day with his chest”.

He later denied being in the club on the day in question, although he admitted he was there the following day.

It was said that Mr Kane had been seen several times drinking and smoking at the club while he was off work and was told: “Surely if you had been unfit for work and on antibiotics, you shouldn’t be in the pub.”

However, Mr Kane told the company hearing that he had only been there for a short while, and he saw nothing wrong with it, although his employer took a different view and he was fired for a “breach of trust and dishonesty”.

It was put to the claimant he should not be in a public house because he was absent and unable to work through ill health, although the Judge said there was nothing in the disciplinary procedure prohibiting an employee from acting in this way.

She noted flaws in the firm’s investigations and said its disciplinary procedure fell below the standard of a reasonable employer and ruled that the claimant was unfairly dismissed.

Now, call me old fashioned but in my book any employee who blatantly lies to his boss that he is unfit to work and that he is on antibiotics due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and then goes to the pub and lies about that too and sees nothing wrong with his actions is exactly the sort of person who deserves his marching orders without a question of a doubt.

I know when I was working behaviour like this would have got you sacked at the drop of a hat, sadly I suppose it’s only a matter of time before he demands compensation for wrongful dismissal.

What a strange world we are now living in!

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About The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I am a retired actor, although to be honest I only retired because I wasn't getting any work and the option of becoming an unemployed actor/waiter at my age was ludicrous, especially as my waiting skills are non-existent. Having said I’m retired, I don’t think there really is such a thing as a retired actor for I am still available for work, I just don’t have an agent or any connections with regards to obtaining any worthwhile work. I have over the years done student films when there is nothing else available, always low paid (if at all) the only incentive was always the promised copy of the finished film for your show reel which nine times out of ten always failed to materialise. I spent many years looking after my aged mother who had dementia, hence the lack of acting work but shortly after her death I was lucky enough to run into an ex-girlfriend of many years ago and our romance blossomed once again, resulting in us getting married in 2013. My move to the countryside inspired me to write The Diary of a Country Bumpkin which tells of my continuing dilemmas in dealing with the rigors of the countryside from the unexpectedly large number of pollens, fungal moulds and hay products waiting to attack the unsuspecting townie. I enjoy writing, see my play Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori on The Wireless Theatre Company, The Plays Wot I Wrote and The Battle of Barking Creek both available on and am very fond of classic cars so my ideal occupation would be acting in a film I had written set in the 1930s/40s, we live in hopes. I am delighted to say that since venturing to the countryside where space is not quite the premium it is in town, I have due to the availability of two double garages acquired more classic cars to form a small collection the pride of which are a 1947 Bentley Mk VI and a 2000 Bentley Arnage. My various blogs and websites are continually evolving and I’m sure that by following the appropriate links you will find something which will edify or amuse.
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  1. I’m sure the smoking will do his COPD the world of good!

    • Good exercise for the lungs lugging on a ciggie, doctors used to give women who were suffering from post natal depression five Weights and a box of matches with the advice to “pull yourself together woman,” so they must have been beneficial.

  2. All standards have dropped over the years. I certainly wouldn’t have tolerated such behavior.

  3. SueW says:

    I read about this one. I wonder how he would have paid for this if he’d lost the case? Legal Aid? The judge has just opened the floodgates and I think she needs to take a long hard look at herself.

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