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Near miss of a shark bite leads to dismissal

28th March, 2014

A settlement has been reached between the parties where a charity worker was dismissed for ‘wrestling a shark’ whilst on sickness absence.

Mr Marshallsea had been employed by the Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club for approximately 10 years when he went on an extended period of sickness absence, during which he travelled to Australia with his family.

Unfortunately the startling events which followed ultimately lead to his dismissal.

Mr Marshallsea was having a barbecue by a beach on the Sunshine Coast when a fin was spotted in shallow waters where young children were playing. There was no hesitation before Mr Marshallsea ran to the scene and grabbed what turned out to be a 6ft shark by the tail. Once he had dragged the dangerous animal a safe distance into the sea, the shark turned on Mr Marshallsea and just missed him with a bite to the leg.

Employment issues arose in this case when the dramatic scenes were captured on video by a nearby TV crew and Mr Marshallsea’s employer saw the footage.

On his return home from Australia, Mr Marshallsea was greeted with a dismissal letter stating that “whilst unfit to work, you were well enough to travel to Australia where you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way” and that due to a breakdown in trust and confidence, the Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club found “dismissal to be the only course of action”.

We understand that a settlement has now been reached between the parties and that this matter will not progress to the Tribunal. However, it does highlight how the most unexpected of circumstances can lead the adverse effects in employment.

For further information and advice in relation to employment disputes and unfair dismissal, please contact Helen Watson on 01244 405565 or send an email to [email protected].

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