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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48718
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have recently contracted and been signed off sick weeks

Resolved Question:

I have recently contracted and been signed off sick for 5 weeks with pneumonia. Upon my return to work i have been informed (unofficially) that my employers have asked someone else to take over my role. Would i have grounds for legal remedy if this in fact the case? Please help!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben, nice to chat...As above basically
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would I have grounds for remedy as i am the head engineer of this firm and I am really not happy how they have approached someone else while im signed of sick
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It seems to be the case of what is going to happen in terms of my position being threatened.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi there. Please can you tell me how long you have worked there and whether you have an employment contract. Please can you also advise whether you provided the necessary documentation to cover your sickness so that I can look into this for you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have the correct documentation, a contract and I have worked here for almost 15 years on and off (to go to university) I have the doc note and proof of my hospital visits.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks for your patience. Your rights ill mainly depend on your length of service and also the reasons for your absence. Firstly, if an employee has been continuously employed with their employer for at least 2 years they will be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that to fairly dismiss them their employer has to show that there was a potentially fair reason for dismissal and that a fair dismissal procedure was followed. According to the Employment Rights Act 1996 there are five separate reasons that an employer could use to show that a dismissal was fair: conduct, capability, redundancy, illegality or some other substantial reason (SOSR). The employer will not only need to show that the dismissal was for one of those reasons, but also justify that it was appropriate and reasonable to use in the circumstances. In addition, they need to ensure that a fair dismissal procedure was followed and this would depend on which of the above reasons they used to dismiss. So if you have more than 2 years’ continuous service as an employee you will be protected against unfair dismissal and the employer cannot just go ahead and replace you because doing so would likely amount to an unfair dismissal (if you are dismissed as a result) or you could have a case for constructive dismissal where you are forced to resign because of a fundamental breach of contract by the employer. So to summarise – if you are simply replaced and dismissed because of this it would be a potential case for unfair dismissal. If you are replaced but left to work there in some other role then that is a case for potential constructive dismissal. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on constructive dismissal and how it will apply here and how you can take it forward, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much it is leaning toward constructive dismissal. Thanks for our time
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. This could potentially amount to constructive dismissal, which occurs when the following two elements are present:· Serious breach of contract by the employer; and· An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who in turn treats the contract of employment as at an end. The employee must act in response to the breach and must not delay any action too long. A common breach by the employer occurs when it, or its employees, have broken the implied contractual term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario). The affected employee would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring their concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. If the issues are so bad that the employee can't even face raising a grievance and going through the process, or if a grievance has been raised but has been unsuccessful, then they can consider resigning straight away. If resignation appears to be the only option, it must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give an impression that the employer's breach had been accepted. Any resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without providing any notice period. It is advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal. Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of resignation to submit a claim in the employment tribunal. An alternative way out is to approach the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation. In any event, there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them because you cannot be treated detrimentally for suggesting it and it would not be used against you. Just to make a final, yet important point, that constructive dismissal can be a difficult claim to win as the burden of proof is entirely on the employee to show the required elements of a claim were present. Therefore, it should only be used as a last resort.