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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45327
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been directed hear via a link to the Citizens Advice

Resolved Question:

Hi
I have been directed hear via a link to the Citizens Advice network. I have a very distressing situation with my employer, and am hoping you can advise me. Having been away from work for some time due to ill health, and having returned on a phased return, it has been requested that I attend a meeting to consider if I am capable of continuing in my current role. A previous meeting had to be postponed due to concerns relating to my level of anxiety and resulted with the employer placing me back on sick leave. Now that I have returned to work, my employer is requesting a continuation to the process. I am very distressed by the prospect of continuation and have elected that someone act as my advocate. The problem is that my professional body will not act because this is a pre-existing situation and I really do not know the best way to proceed.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Capability, where an employee is unable to perform their job due to ill health, is a potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee under the Employment Rights Act 1996. The definition of ‘capability’ includes competence (skill and aptitude), health (any mental/physical quality) and qualifications.
Whether a capability dismissal is fair will depend on the particular circumstances and the procedure that was followed. The employer needs to show they had reasonable grounds to believe that the employee was incapable of performing their job and that nothing further could be done to assist them. In the end they need to show that dismissal was a reasonable decision to take. The courts have held that an important consideration is whether any reasonable employer would have waited longer in the circumstances before dismissing the employee.
When looking at the reasonableness of such a dismissal, the tribunal will usually look at the following elements:
• What was the nature of the illness
• Was the employee consulted over their position and did the employer try to ascertain the true medical position
• What was the likelihood of the employee returning to work or the illness reoccurring in the future
• The effect a prolonged absence would have on the business and the workforce
• The availability of other suitable employment that the employee could do instead
Dismissal must always be viewed as a last resort by the employer. Only when it is obvious that the employee cannot continue in their job and that there was nothing else available for them to do would dismissal become a fair option.
It is also important to consider the additional rights someone would have if the condition that is affecting them amounts to a 'disability'. This can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of conditions that amount to a disability under law. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show they satisfy the legal definition of ‘disability’.
The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.
I will break this definition down:
• Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;
• Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;
• Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;
• Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.)
If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.
So in summary, if the employer has not taken time to investigate the true medical position, whether suitable employment was available and generally considered the effects the employee's continued absence would have on the business, any dismissal could potentially be unfair. In addition, if they have failed to make reasonable adjustments in the event the employee's condition amounted to a disability, this could also amount to disability discrimination.
The first step is to formally appeal the dismissal, if the employer goes that far, with the employer using the internal appeals procedure. After that all that can be done is to submit a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal (subject to having at least 2 years' continuous service), and/or pursue a claim for disability discrimination.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If your query has been dealt with please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. If you need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ben, your reply was much appreciated, my greatest difficulty at this point in time is finding the right person to act as my advocate. Very much doubt you can help me find a solution !

Regards ***** ***** Nevill

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello Paul, unfortunately we cannot direct you to any particular representative who can act for you, as this is against our site rules. This is something you need to do independently. You can start by going to the Law Society's website and searching for employment solicitors near you then contacting them until you find the right one who is willing to take your case on:
http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/
Hope this helps?
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45327
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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