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UK Employees Allowed to Alert Employer by SMS When Unwell

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An Employment Tribunal in the UK has ruled that employees can use SMS to notify their employer that they are not well, provided the method has been accepted in the past and that no new employee regulations have been issued to staff.

Mark Morrison, a former a sales adviser for a decorating store in Edinburgh sued his employer, Tile It All after he was dismissed for "failure to follow company procedures."

His brother died last year and he used SMS to notify his employer of the situation and later sent a second message saying that he would take sick leave until the funeral. When he returned to work, no comment was made about his use of SMS to contact his employer. A few days later, he again used SMS to notify his employer that he was taking more time off work due to depression.

When he returned to work, he was dismissed - and later chose to sue his employer for unfair dismissal.

The Employment Tribunal ruled that since the employer had accepted his SMS message one week, and hadn't notified him of any problems with that method of communication, they could not then dismiss him for using the same method the next week.

Morrison was awarded damages worth 6,977 (US14,400).

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Tags: edinburgh  UK