It is a common occurrence that employees present fraudulent, false medical certificates to an employer to justify their absence from work and to be paid for a sick day.

Your rights as an employer

An employer is always entitled to question the validity of a medical certificate, especially if it appears to be dubious.

The employer must find evidence that the medical certificate issued is false. The direct approach would be to contact the person indicated on the certificate by phone or a personal visit to confirm whether the person is a medical practitioner and issued the certificate. It could be that the employee bought the false medical certificate from someone who is not a doctor at all, or an originally genuine certificate could have been altered unlawfully.

Once an employer has enough proof, substantiated by witnesses, the employer can suspend the employee and issue a notice to attend a disciplinary hearing on the grounds of submitting a fraudulent, false medical certificate to the employer.

To prove guilt in a disciplinary hearing the employer must show:
• that the medical certificate was false
• that the employee knew it was false
• that the employee submitted the false medical certificate to mislead the employer.

Where an employee is found guilty of submitting a fraudulent medical certificate, summary dismissal is warranted.

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