Most people might answer “yes” to this question, but they should think again…
Mandy Frith, 49, of Chesterfield, doted on her Staffordshire bull terrier ‘Buster’ for over 15 years and was so devastated when he died that she took a day off from her job at Royal Mail to grieve.
When she returned to work, however, the company commenced disciplinary action for “unsatisfactory attendance”. Despite only averaging two days sickness a year over a period of eleven years working at Royal Mail, they decided to sack her in August 2009.
She then decided to sue the company for unfair dismissal, claiming they failed to treat her case on its merits and failed to take into account her feelings after Buster died. But a Sheffield employment tribunal disagreed and dismissed her claim, finding that Royal Mail fairly sacked her under its disciplinary procedure.
Following the hearing, Ms Frith said:
“I told Royal Mail about the dog dying and they even sent me a condolence card but they just didn’t take it into account during the disciplinary hearings and didn’t even record it in the notes.
“I loved my job and took a great pride in my work. It was my salvation — being the only thing I had left after losing Buster.
“I had never spent a night apart from him and it had always been just the two of us. I was thoroughly distraught over losing him and my job helped me through some very dark hours.
“Losing my job as well has completely devastated me. I have been made to feel totally devalued, humiliated and ashamed.”
She believes the real reason Royal Mail were motivated to sack her was a reorganisation within her department during which the company were seeking to reduce staff levels.
Ms Frith, who lives alone, is still unemployed and lost her home following the dismissal because she could not maintain her mortgage repayments. She now takes anti-depressants for stress and anxiety.
The Royal Mail declined to comment.
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