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German court rules hangovers are an ‘illness’, but that doesn’t mean you should call in sick with a hangover

3AW Breakfast

A German court has ruled that hangovers are a form of illness for legal purposes, but Australians wanting to call in sick with a hangover have been advised against doing so.

Judges in Frankfurt decided hangovers following a big night of drinking count as a “disturbance of the normal state or function of the body” and, therefore, are technically an illness.

Kamal Farouque, Principal Lawyer in Maurice Blackburn’s Employment practice, said it’s not the first time the issue has come up in court.

“We’ve had cases in Canada, in the US, in Australia, about this very issue,” he told 3AW’s Kate and Quarters.

Mr Farouque said many employees get away with chucking a sickie after a big night, but cautioned against advertising that you’re hungover.

“You can be absent if you’re ill, and an employer can require you to produce reasonable evidence of the reason, and usually reasonable evidence is just going to be a sickness certificate,” he said.

“An employer generally can’t, or won’t, go behind the sickness certificate and inquire as to why, precisely, you’re ill.”

There has been at least one Australian case where an employee was sacked after admitting to being hungover, but the employee won an unfair dismissal case.

“There was a case in a Tasmanian salmon factory some years ago where somebody rang up the day before and said ‘look, it’s my birthday today, I’ve overindulged, I’m not going to be in’ and they were sacked, but they won their dismissal, it was said to be, ultimately, harsh,” Mr Farouque said.

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