Bloke fired after telling bosses he was sick – only to be pictured at the airport hours later with a pint and a burger

A head of a medical firm was fired after telling bosses he was going home sick – but was photographed at the airport hours later with a burger and a pint, a court heard.

Ross Collins had booked time off work for a trip to Cyprus – but his flight was actually booked due to take off 24 hours earlier.

In order to reach his plane, he told his employers that he had a ‘bad stomach’ and wanted to check on his partner, who was ‘almost 12 weeks pregnant’.

But he was caught when colleagues saw a picture on social media of him enjoying a meal and a drink at Gatwick Airport just three and a half hours after leaving work, HullLive has reported.

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He was fired for gross misconduct and later sued for unfair dismissal, but his claim was denied by an employment court.

A hearing was told that Mr Collins had been employed by the STERIS Instrument Management Service for more than 12 years.

The company, which is part of a larger US company, is a leading industry expert in ‘management of surgical instruments and devices’.

At the time of the incident in October 2018, Mr Collins was working as a workshop manager at the company’s plant in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

Ross Collins’ partner posted a photo of him on social media just three and a half hours after leaving work

The Watford court heard that he had booked a flight for two adults from Gatwick Airport to Larnaca on the south coast of Cyprus, departing at 15:25 Thursday 18 October.

However, he had only taken three days off from work – starting on Friday. On the morning of the flight, the court heard that Mr Collins complained that he ‘felt uncomfortable’ and was seen ‘rubbing his stomach’.

He asked colleagues for pain medication, but reported his illness to a manager later that morning.

The court also heard that he told his boss that he was ‘worried about his partner’ who was ‘in the early stages of his pregnancy and also unwell’.

He was allowed to leave when he ‘said he was ill and that he wanted to seek medical help for his partner’, and told another boss that time could be ‘deducted in his overtime’.

Three and a half hours after leaving work, Mr Collins’ partner uploaded a picture to social media showing him ‘eating a burger at the airport’ [and] chips and drink a draft beer ’.

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When he returned to work, he was subjected to a disciplinary investigation and later dismissed.

He appealed his dismissal and eventually filed complaints of unfair dismissal against his employer – claiming he had overtime and ‘wanted to take this time back’.

He admitted that he should have informed his bosses that his flight was that day and not the day after, but claimed that he had never questioned colleagues who ‘left work to watch a football match’.

In conclusion, Employment Judge Stephen Bedeau said: “[The tribunal is] convinced that the reason why (Mr Collins) was dismissed was that he had lied to [his employers] as to the reason why he traveled on October 18, 2018.

“[Mr Collins] had initially booked his flight to take off from 18 October 2018, the day he had not booked as a holiday.

“There was every reason to believe that due to the pressure on him and his partner to arrive at the airport on time, he left work on October 18 late in the morning.”


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