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Deserting Work for a Rugby Match


It is Boxing Day 2011 and the Scarlets are playing a home match against the Ospreys, a top of the table clash. Shaun Mackey, a Scarlets fan and store manager at the DSG Retail’s Llanelli store, which is within walking distance of the Ospreys’ home stadium, exits the store through the warehouse door at the rear to attend the match. Boxing Day is the employer’s busiest trading day and all members of staff are required to work. At 14.04 CCTV footage shows Mackey leaving the store, returning at 15.57. The game, which the Scarlets win 22-14, commenced at 14.05.


At investigatory and disciplinary hearings, Mackey asserted that he had been present at the match for the duration of his one hour lunch break only, not for the whole match. When shown the CCTV footage, Mackey claimed he had spoken to two colleagues in the warehouse prior to leaving and making his way to the match, and that he also spoke to two colleagues when he returned to the warehouse before entering the store, and so had not been absent for two hours, as the employer claimed. However, none of the four witnesses supported his version of events.