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Sam Boyer

Sam Boyer is a police reporter for the NZ Herald.

Sacked telco worker takes case to court

A former Telecom employee says he was unfairly dismissed after taking a holiday to Fiji. Photo / Greg Bowker
A former Telecom employee says he was unfairly dismissed after taking a holiday to Fiji. Photo / Greg Bowker

A former Telecom employee has taken the communications company to court, appealing against his sacking for allegedly falsifying a medical certificate while holidaying in Fiji.

Madhukar Shyam Narayan was laid off from his job as a broadband helpdesk specialist in March 2012, 2 months after missing three days of work.

Telecom dismissed him for a breach of trust after question marks were raised over his Fijian medical certificate.

The Employment Relations Authority last year found in Telecom's favour, satisfied the company "conducted a fair and reasonable investigation before dismissing Mr Narayan", and that he "was justifiably dismissed".

His appeal of that decision began yesterday in the Employment Court in Auckland.

Mr Narayan, who was born and raised in Fiji, had travelled home in December 2011 for what he said was a three-week holiday. Though he flew on a one-way ticket, he always intended to adhere to his approved leave break and return to work in Auckland by December 27, he said.

He had originally applied for leave to return on January 3, but that period had been declined.

On December 27, he emailed Telecom saying he seemed "to have caught a bad virus" and wouldn't be in to work. He didn't mention that he was still in Fiji.

On December 29 he emailed again, advising he was "still sick as" and was seeking a second medical opinion. That night he visited a doctor at a Suva hospital.

He returned to work on January 3, 2012.

Telecom allege Mr Narayan always intended to stay in Fiji until early January. They say he provided a false medical certificate, wasn't sick and lied to extend his holiday.

He maintains this was not the case.

"Telecom made a serious allegation against me ... an improper one," he said in court yesterday. "They accused me of falsifying a medical document. That's fraud. I could go to jail for that."

But the medical certificate he provided from the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva and the circumstances surrounding it, were "suspicious", Telecom's lawyer Emma Butcher said.

Mr Narayan was unable to provide the certificate to Telecom until two weeks after he returned, having left it behind in his Suva hotel room.

The case continues today.

- NZ Herald

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