Case-law has given some guidance in relation to dismissing someone due to ill health. In BS v Dundee City Council, the EAT advised all employers to consider the following points before acting.
- Obtain proper evidence and understanding about the employee’s medical condition and likely prognosis
- Consult with the employee and take his or her views into account
- Ask whether a reasonable employer would wait any longer before dismissing the employee
In order to fulfil these obligations and follow a fair process we would recommend considering these points.
- Follow normal absence procedures to consult with the employee
- Make sure there has been an independent occupational health review
- Ask for a medical report that provides information about the nature of the absence and possible duration
- Ask whether they feel it is likely they will return to work in the foreseeable future
- Consider reasonable adjustments or alternative working patterns that could help them return to work
- Make sure you discuss the medical report with the employee and consider their views and requirements
- Is there a time limit whereby you must consider replacing the employee due to the organisation’s needs?
- Is the employee’s absence having a negative impact on colleagues and the organisation?
- Ask yourself is dismissal a reasonable action, given the information available?
- Make sure, at the review, all outcomes are discussed, including possibly terminating the employment
Above all, please speak to one of our HR Advisors on 01924 827869 when any case is bought to your attention. Advice from the beginning of a long-term absence case will help achieve a satisfactory outcome for both the employer and employee. We can offer services such as occupational health referrals, CBT, counselling and mediation. If you use SAM, the system will help you manage the process, if you don’t please get in touch for a free demo and start making managing absences easier, email email@example.com