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Blood in the water

Following the story of a youth worker saving children from a shark while signed off work sick, Murray Grant asks how easy is it to dismiss someone signed off with work-related stress under such circumstances

5 April 2013

The youth worker in question alleges that he was told by his GP that he and his wife (who was a youth worker for the same charity) should get away from their environment otherwise they were at risk of a breakdown. Presumably he was signed off work with work related stress for a substantial period. It was while they were in Queensland, Australia, that the youth worker initially became the subject of media attention for rescuing children from a shark and pulling the shark back out to sea. He says his employers invited him to a disciplinary hearing which he could not attend because he was still in Australia and then dismissed him because they allege their trust and confidence in him had broken down. Their rationale appears to have been that if the employee was fit enough to wrestle sharks, he was fit enough to attend work.

The HSE defines work-related stress as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work. The latest estimates from the La...

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