Italy is clamping down on absenteeism from work, as has been demonstrated recently by the case of three women teachers from a school near to Naples. Every year for seven consecutive years from 1991-1997, the three went to the north of Italy for a week's ski-ing holiday and on their return they presented a medical certificate to justify their absence. In 1998 the three were sacked from their jobs and they and the doctor who issued the medical certificate were taken to court and charged with fraud. The three were found guilty and each one was fined 1,000 and sentenced to a year in prison. After several years of legal battles the sentences have been upheld at appeal even though the four will not have to go to prison as they are first time offenders. The lawyer for the defence is still declaring the innocence of his clients claiming that the three suffered from a chronic condition which worsened every winter and required a brief period of rest, even though it was demonstrated that the three always booked their holiday hotels before obtaining a medical certificate.
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