2008-03-19

Only in Australia: sickie tradition 'under threat'

A self-confessed footy fanatic is appealing a landmark ruling that upheld his sacking for taking the day off work to watch an AFL game.

In what lawyers claim threatens the Australian tradition of taking a sickie, Nathan Anderson, a former trainee dealer with Melbourne's Crown casino, failed to have his sacking overturned by the federal Magistrates Court.

Mr Anderson, 27, obtained a medical certificate after telling a doctor that he wanted to see Sheedy coach his last game in Perth.

He was warned by Crown not to take sick leave to attend the game, but flew to Perth, later insisting he had been suffering "emotional distress" at the thought of missing the match.

Mr Anderson told Crown that it was not open to the company to question his medical certificate, and that he was "highly passionate" about Essendon, Sheedy, and club star James Hird, who played his last game that day.

Federal magistrate dismissed Mr Anderson's claim that he had been unlawfully terminated, finding his absence from work was not caused by illness or injury. "Mr Anderson basically told all concerned at work, 'I am going to go to this game come what may and I will get a certificate to justify my position'," he said.