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The footage of Paul Marshallsea grabbing the shark's tail as it swam towards paddling children was broadcast around the world and he was hailed a hero.

But as a result he is facing a life on benefits in one of the country's worst unemployment blackspots in of Merthyr Tydfil, in the South Wales valleys.

He and his wife Wendy, who work for the same children?s charity, were on sick leave for work-related stress when they took the two month holiday in Australia.

After seeing January's footage charity trustees decided that the couple had been dishonest and sacked them.

The dismissal letter said: "Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia and, according to recent news footage of yourself in Queensland, you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way.?

The photographs and video caused a ?breakdown of the trustees' confidence and trust in you and your ability to perform? which was so great that dismissal was the only option, the letter said.

"What am I going to do now? There's not much call for shark-wrestlers in Merthyr Tydfil," the 62-year-old asked.

They found the letter, dismissing them "with immediate effect?, waiting from them when they returned from their holiday.

The father-of-three and his 56-year-old wife were given extended sick leave by the Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club, where they had worked for 10 years.

The pair used the leave to visit friends in Australia and were having a barbecue on Bulcock beach when a fin was spotted in the water.

After hearing cries Mr Marshallsea ran into the waves, grabbed the 6ft-long dusky whaler shark and lead it out into deep water away from the children who were playing in the shallows.

A TV crew filming nearby captured the rescue and the images were beamed around the world, making Mr Marshallsea a national hero in Australia where lifeguards praised his bravery.

But now Mr Marshallsea, the charity's project co-ordinator, said he is disgusted that the film has been used as evidence to get him sacked.

He said: "If I hadn't gone in to save the kids on that beach that day my wife and I would still have a job.

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He said: "If I hadn't gone in to save the kids on that beach that day my wife and I would still have a job.

err, no he won't because he was fired for being dishonest (taking a trip while on a sick leave?).

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err, no he won't because he was fired for being dishonest (taking a trip while on a sick leave?).

Yeah, "sick leave for work-related stress". I believe that's called vacation...

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I Agree And the DR ordered them to take a Vacation basicly ...

Was on Sick leav to Relive Stree not beclose he was Sick with the Flu / Broken Leg or something.

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Do people actually use sick days when they are sick? LOL Sick days gets used for "tired as hell cuz I partied too much last night, nahhh... not going to work today" days. LOL

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I Agree And the DR ordered them to take a Vacation basicly ...

Was on Sick leav to Relive Stree not beclose he was Sick with the Flu / Broken Leg or something.

still it's a sick leave; in my country a person who's in a sick leave can only leave the house in a specific schedule; there's also surprise visits from work inspectors to check if the person is not cheating the leave; if caught then they can be justifiable fired.

if they wanted to rest from stress and had no vacations left then a no pay leave is enough.

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Unless a holiday abroad was specifically approved as a treatment for work-related stress then it's only right that they were fired. It's also worth pointing out that wrestling a shark cannot be less stressful than staying at home.

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I am too lazy to dig deeper, but I am willing to bet it was an insurance fraud type thing.

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I find it funny that a Children's Charity fired him for.. helping children..

Unless a holiday abroad was specifically approved as a treatment for work-related stress then it's only right that they were fired. It's also worth pointing out that wrestling a shark cannot be less stressful than staying at home.

Depends how you look at it, after fighting a shark and winning I think the normal stresses of life wouldn't seem so bad :p

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No good deed goes unpunished.

I wonder though, in what way do they propose that you relieve stress during your 'stress leave', if the repercussion of doing something to relieve it can cost you your Job. If he was taking sick leave, I'd understand; but stress leave should be used to de-stress which would imply a vacation or whatever means to de-stress. Certainly not worrying as to whether you have your Job when you are done de-stressing. This seems like backwards logic.

On that note though, there could possibly be some level of injustice done that I'm misunderstanding.

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I find it funny that a Children's Charity fired him for.. helping children..

No, they were fired because they were dishonest. It's really not difficult to understand.

I wonder though, in what way do they propose that you relieve stress during your 'stress leave', if the repercussion of doing something to relieve it can cost you your Job. If he was taking sick leave, I'd understand; but stress leave should be used to de-stress which would imply a vacation or whatever means to de-stress.

If I was on sick leave for stress then I'd make sure to get permission from the doctor and employer beforehand. I wouldn't simply book a holiday to Australia for two months. It's common sense.

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Do people actually use sick days when they are sick? LOL Sick days gets used for "tired as hell cuz I partied too much last night, nahhh... not going to work today" days. LOL

Exactly. The organization that fired them are basically being scum buckets.

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No, they were fired because they were dishonest. It's really not difficult to understand.

If I was on sick leave for stress then I'd make sure to get permission from the doctor and employer beforehand. I wouldn't simply book a holiday to Australia for two months. It's common sense.

this. nuff said, close thread, move on. :)

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Vacation is great stress relief.

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Vacation is great stress relief.

Shark wrestling isn't.

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Dumb as hell and he shouldnt of been fired. The company was looking for an excuse. He was on sick leave for stress and he was taking a vacation which Drs normally subscribe for stress. Its not like he claimed he had a bad back and was seen wrestling sharks. Even if he did have a bad back or anything else wrong with him other than stress....he saw his kids were in danger and took action. Pain doesnt matter when famly members, your kids, are in danger. Body reacts and you tend to forget about that and focus on what you need to do to protect your kids.

It's also worth pointing out that wrestling a shark cannot be less stressful than staying at home.

Are you serious? He was not planning on wrestling a shark. He was RELAXING and saw a shark going towards his kids and he reacted. Should he of just let the shark go at his kids because he was worried he was going to aggravate his stress and get fired?

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Vacation is great stress relief.

Never heard of the phrase, "need a vacation from my vacation" Vacations are more stressful than sitting at home and relaxing. A trip to Australia... the airports alone are a ton of stress for a trip that long.

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but when in vacation you see some kid eaten by sharks, it may became traumatic, and accumulate more stress.

I personaly do not wish to see another human being eaten in front of my eyes.

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but when in vacation you see some kid eaten by sharks, it may became traumatic, and accumulate more stress.

I personaly do not wish to see another human being eaten in front of my eyes.

Don't watch Jaws or Jurassic Park...sorry... I should have said spoiler alert
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A two month long sick leave?!

I don't even have an assigned family doctor!

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Unless a holiday abroad was specifically approved as a treatment for work-related stress then it's only right that they were fired. It's also worth pointing out that wrestling a shark cannot be less stressful than staying at home.

^ this fairly much.

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He got what he deserved.

Did his wife get the bullet also?

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Are you serious? He was not planning on wrestling a shark. He was RELAXING and saw a shark going towards his kids and he reacted. Should he of just let the shark go at his kids because he was worried he was going to aggravate his stress and get fired?

It wouldn't have been an issue had the holiday been approved by the employer or doctor. I think it's great that he acted on instinct and helped protect the children?he should be commended for that?but he also has to face the consequences of his actions. Obviously he didn't set out to wrestle a shark but the result was the same.

I think the part that's not getting much attention is that the couple both worked for the same company, were both signed off for work related stress and then ended up going on holiday to Australia together. It seems highly suspicious, particularly given that work related stress relies on a degree of self-diagnosis.

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still it's a sick leave; in my country a person who's in a sick leave can only leave the house in a specific schedule; there's also surprise visits from work inspectors to check if the person is not cheating the leave; if caught then they can be justifiable fired.

if they wanted to rest from stress and had no vacations left then a no pay leave is enough.

So how's the weather down there in North Korea ?

That's absolutely ridiculous. Fact is, you can be sick in many ways, and the employer don't have any rights to control what you do when you're "home" sick. while the specific rules vary from country to country and some countries have absolutely backwards rules, though not to the extent you describe(over here the work place would be charged with illegal surveillance and control measures of an employee), over here you can do whatever you want, including going away IF it doesn't negatively affect your recovery. On the same not, if you get sick on vacation, the days you are sick are counted as sick days and not vacation days. In some cases the doctros will recommend and in extreme cases even prescribe trips abroad.

But no matter what, they can't force you to stay at home, in your house. for a lot of sick reason getting out and getting fresh air is in fact something you need to do, and just because you're sick and can't be at work doesn't mean you can't be outside or such.

Being home sick and then posting pictures of yourself drunk at a party, yeah, that's grounds for a warning the first time and then firing the second time, maybe even the first time depending on the severity.

But nothing in this story indicates they broke the trust or anything of their employer. They where sick and left the country to be with friends and relax to get better. based on that video alone, this company would not be allowed under work laws to fire them.

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But nothing in this story indicates they broke the trust or anything of their employer. They where sick and left the country to be with friends and relax to get better. based on that video alone, this company would not be allowed under work laws to fire them.

I wouldn't assume their termination was legal. I took the time to read the full article and it seems that the doctor did advise the couple to go on holiday, which means the couple could take it to an employment tribunal and have their termination overturned. It seems the couple were in the right.

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