China: Employee’s making tourist travel overseas during approved sick leave is held as cause for termination
The Employee applied for two weeks of sick leave and provided his medical documents to the Employer. Pursuant to the medical records, the Employee was diagnosed as cervical spondylosis and suggested to rest for two weeks. The Employer approved the Employee’s sick leave application, but later found out that the Employee made tourist travels to Brazil during the sick leave and then decided to terminate the Employee. The Employee filed a case against the Employer and claimed for reinstatement. The first and second instances of court both ruled in favor of the Employee, but the Beijing High Court reversed the decisions of lower courts and ruled that the Employer’s termination of the Employee was legal. The Beijing High Court came to this high profile decision based on the followings: (a) Employee’s tourist travel in Brazil proved his physical well-being and absence of qualification to apply for sick leave in the first place; (b) Employee’s malicious application for sick leave violated the principle of integrity and honesty, and (c) violation of the principle of integrity and honesty, though not literally incorporated in any Employer’s policy, still amounted to a legitimate cause for Employer’s unilateral termination of the Employee.