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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44899
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been working for a leisure centre for over 5 years now

Customer Question

I have been working for a leisure centre for over 5 years now and this year I have had a week off for glandulaur fever, 4 days with torn knee cartilage and 9 days with ligament and tendon damage in my thumb. I was signed off with doctors notes for all the above but have hit the triggers on the companies sickness policy.

I am due to go in for a meeting with my line manager and a representative from HR, they are telling me I don't need to take anyone with me as a witness????

ive also been told if I take anymore time off it may lead to termination, but I still require surgery on my knee.
please help!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Please note that as a practising solicitor I am often in and out of meetings, travelling, or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at evenings and weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance if there is a slight delay in getting back to you. Rest assured that I am dealing with your query and will respond ASAP. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email as soon as I have responded. For now please let me know what is your question about this?

JACUSTOMER-hmfwzsez- :

I have been working for a leisure centre for over 5 years now and this year I have had a week off for glandulaur fever, 4 days with torn knee cartilage and 9 days with ligament and tendon damage in my thumb. I was signed off with doctors notes for all the above but have hit the triggers on the companies sickness policy. I am due to go in for a meeting with my line manager and a representative from HR, they are telling me I don't need to take anyone with me as a witness???? ive also been told if I take anymore time off it may lead to termination, but I still require surgery on my knee. please help!

Ben Jones :

Sickness absence, even if backed up by a valid sick note, can eventually amount to a performance issue which can be dealt with under specific performance policies by the employer. The only time such absence should be ignored or more lenient treatment afforded to it is if it was linked to a disability.


 


When it comes to dismissing an employee, then a dismissal due to their sickness record is a potentially fair reason for dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996. However, to justify it as being fair the employer needs to follow a fair procedure.


 


First and foremost the employer needs to comply with any workplace sickness or absence procedures and policies.


 


They need to conduct an investigation, which would involve:



  • Investigating the nature, extent and likely duration of any illness.

  • Asking the employee for information and/or obtain medical reports if necessary.

  • If absences are short-term and intermittent, investigating whether there is any underlying cause (medical or otherwise). If necessary, follow a capability or disciplinary procedure instead, offering practical guidance and assistance, setting timescales for improvement, and giving warnings where appropriate.


 


The employer then needs to review the alternatives:



  • Before deciding whether to dismiss, consider surrounding circumstances, age and length of service of employee together with action taken in respect of similar circumstances in the past.

  • Consider importance of employee and/or the post occupied to the business, the impact their continued absence is having on the business and the difficulty and cost of continuing to deal with their absence.

  • Consider whether the employee could take up alternative employment or whether there are any other options that would avoid the need for dismissal.

  • If the employee has been absent long-term and is unlikely to return in the foreseeable future the employer should consider claiming under the terms of any Private Health Insurance policy or ill health retirement that is available.


 


Dismissal should always be the last resort, considering the courts may have sympathy with employees who have been ill, especially if the reason for their absences is a condition that amounts to a disability under law.


 


If it appears that the employer has taken a particularly heavy-handed approach and failed to satisfy at least some of the requirements that make such a dismissal fair, the option exists of appealing to them first before submitting a claim for unfair dismissal, subject to having at least 2 years' continuous service (and possible disability discrimination if the condition in question amounts to a disability) in an employment tribunal.


 

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your query or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?

JACUSTOMER-hmfwzsez- :

no sorry, just seems like a generic answer and waste of money

Ben Jones :

ok good luck

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