In an amazing tale of perseverance, a veteran employee with Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover, who missed a total of 808 days of work over the last 20 years won a legal battle over his unfair dismissal by the automobile company. Vic Rumbold, who lived close to the Castle Bromwich plant where he worked shifts, cost the car giant £95,850 in sick pay.

He was absent for a number of reasons during his near 20 years at the company (JLR). He did not attend work because of health reasons, injuries at work and, on one occasion, an alleged assault.

A Birmingham employment tribunal was told 405 of those shifts were missed in Rumbold’s final four years with JLR, according to Birmingham Live.

Launch manager Jon Carter, who conducted a company employment review, was quoted as saying by “Honestly, (it’s the) worst absence record I have ever seen – 808 shifts, price to the organisation is almost £100,000. There is not one year since 2000 with full attendance record.”

The company, however, failed to carry out the correct procedures before letting Rumbold go in December, 2018, on the grounds of ‘conduct and capability’.

Tribunal Judge Johnson, in his report, concluded JLR did not properly apply Attendance Management Procedures and “had not reasonably reached a stage under that process where they could consider dismissal”.

Rumbold experienced problems with his hip in early 2018 and was diagnosed with avascular necrosis disease, which causes chronic pain. The pain was so bad he was unable to work from March 12 to August 13 of that year.

A hip replacement operation was needed which would have put Rumbold out of action for a further 12 weeks. When JLR were made aware of the disability, Rumbold, who had worked on the car assembly line, was given a number of trials for alternative roles.

At a meeting, Rumbold was told JLR were investigating his failure to maintain contact while absent, his absence after being refused holiday leave, the fact no evidence had been provided for a medical appointment and an “unacceptable” level of absenteeism.

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