A former ICBC employee who claimed a sick day after sneaking away to a Penticton resort for a long weekend was fired legally for the offence, according to the B.C. Labour Relations Board.
Rhianna Mundy was working part time for the insurance agency in Surrey when she attempted to take a vacation day for Saturday August 1, 2020, which was denied two times due to staff shortages, according to the decision from arbitrator Arne Peltz published April 7.
Mundy had hoped to take a long weekend vacation with her husband to celebrate their anniversary. Since she had been working from home due to the pandemic, she decided to take the trip anyway, and claimed she planned to work her regular Saturday shift from her hotel room. She did not inform ICBC of the change of venue, as was required in her work-from-home contract.
Mundy claimed that upon arriving in Penticton, she got a migraine Friday night that left her sleepless, and woke up Saturday with a headache still, causing her to call in sick. Since the sick leave request came on a day that was previously requested as a vacation, it triggered a flag in the ICBC employee leave system.
ICBC interviewed Mundy twice in the weeks following the vacation, during which time she claimed the trip had been "last minute" and that she fully intended to work her 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. shift, but for the migraine.
Mundy said she felt better in the afternoon, and an investigation by her employer found she and her husband had purchased a truck in Penticton that day and posted to social media celebrating that evening.
Her story did not convince her employer, and she was fired for dishonesty and sick leave fraud. Mundy's union filed a grievance, but arbitrator Peltz sided with ICBC in his decision.
"I disbelieve her testimony. I hold that she planned all along to take Saturday off by calling in sick," Peltz wrote.
'A perfect cover'
"[Mundy] compounded the offence when she failed to be forthright during the investigation and repeated an untruthful account of her absence from work ... No independent verification [of the migraine] was possible, a point that would have been known to [Mundy] from the start. The migraine history was a perfect cover."
Mundy had no previous history of disciplinary issues during her six years as an employee, which Peltz acknowledged was a mitigating factor, but he said the bond of employer-employee trust was too broken to reinstate Mundy's job.
"Instead of checking with her manager, [Mundy] hid the Penticton trip and even when called in for an interview the following week, declined to disclose it. [Mundy] only came clean when confronted with the fact that her trip was already known to management," Peltz wrote.
"An employee’s acknowledgement of their misdeed is critical in determining whether the employment relationship can be restored where there is a position of trust. [Mundy], who was in a position of trust because she worked unsupervised, has failed to admit her dishonest conduct despite ample opportunity during the course of two investigative interviews and an arbitration hearing."