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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47381
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi, my partner works for a local authority. He has had a pace

Resolved Question:

Hi, my partner works for a local authority. He has had a pace maker fitted and was a mechanical fitter. His employers are saying he is no longer able to return to his position but his doctor signed him back to work with adjustments to be made i.e. he is fit to partake in light duties or adjustments to his current role. His employers have asked for him to get sick notes from his doctor and have for the past 8 weeks been paying him half pay. They have advised that he now has 12 weeks to find an alternative role within the local authority or they will dismiss him under capabilities. I would like to know how they can demand he is issued with sick notes when his doctor has said he is fit to work, how they can pay him half pay when it is down to them to find him an alternative duty to carry out and how they could dismiss him on the grounds of capabilities? Could someone 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. How long has he worked there for? Are there any available duties for him to do?

Customer:

Hi he has worked there for just over 3 years now. They say there are no duties for him to carry out but they are currently short staffed.

Customer:

the process has been delat with all worng. No one seems to know what they are talking about and he is told one thing then the next another. To begin with they said he would be on full pay now they say he is only on half pay but are giving him no help to find alternative employment. He has a jobs list to go through and has to apply like anyone else.

Customer:

the doctor signed him back to work but the council asked for him to go back to the doctor to be signed off again ? But he is fit and ready to work its just because the council cannot provide him with adjustments to his role.

Ben Jones :

Well for starters sick notes no longer exist, all there is is a fit note, where an employee can be signed off as fit for work, fit for work with adjustments or unfit for work. However, the employer is able to decide what evidence of incapacity they require so if needed they can ask for a more detailed report, like something specific from the doctor that goes into more detail.


 


Now he is likely to be classified as disabled under the Equality Act 2010 and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that he must not be treated less favourably because of his disability. In addition, his employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if he is likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.


 


What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances. Below are some examples of what could amount to a reasonable adjustment:



  • making adjustments to work premises;

  • allocating some of the employee’s duties to others;

  • transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy;

  • altering the employee’s hours of work;

  • allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability;

  • acquiring or modifying specialist equipment;

  • providing supervision or other support.


 


If someone who is disabled is being treated less favourably because of their disability or their employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments it would potentially amount to disability discrimination. The first step would be to raise a formal grievance. The next step would be to consider whether a claim for disability discrimination should be made in an employment tribunal (bearing in mind that the time limit for claiming is only 3 months from the date of the alleged discriminatory behaviour taking place).


 

Customer:

thank you! And what are your thought on asking him to return back to the doctors to have him signed off work and then only paying him 50% of his salary? he seems to be being penalised because the council cannot find him an alternative role.

Ben Jones :

well if there is no role that can satisfy he fit note recommendations they cannot be expected to allow him to return in his old role because that would mean they are breaching their duty of care. So as long as there is a genuine effort to find a suitable alternative but none exists, he can be signed off sick until one is found

Customer:

ok thank you Ben

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the advice I have provided as that is an important part of our process. Thank you and all the best

Customer:

Of course thank you very much

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