Belfast Telegraph

One Direction: Despairing Zayn Malik fans cry off work

By Jenn Selby

More than 220 calls were made to employment law experts by workers asking for compassionate leave following the news that Zayn Malik had quit boy band One Direction.

The singer's announcement is said to have led to hundreds of requests made to the Employer Advice Service of Manchester-based company Peninsula.

Employment law director Alan Price said "it was a situation you just couldn't make up".

"While I sympathise with One Direction fans, I hardly think this qualified as compassionate leave," Mr Price said.

"Abusing compassionate leave is inconsiderate to fellow colleagues who may genuinely need the time off."

He went on to draw comparisons between the event and that of the big parting of ways of Robbie Williams from Take That in 1996, where they again experienced a huge spike in calls from concerned bosses.

“It’s worth noting that the dismissal of Jeremy Clarkson has not led to calls,” he concluded.

Malik released an official statement about his departure on Wednesday. It read:  “My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I'd like to apologise to the fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart.

“I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight. I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”

Mental health charities have since called on One Direction fans to be cautious of hashtags that appear to promote self-harm and other worrying trends.

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