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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49852
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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For Ben Jones, Following on from Mondays question - a member

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For Ben Jones,
Following on from Monday's question - a member of staff off sick, worked here less than 1 year.
On Monday she did not come into the office, and sick note ran out Sunday. I heard nothing, sent a text and got no response, I text her partner who replied to say 'she isnt in a good place at the minute, its her dads inquest this week she also has doctors appointment Tuesday, sure she will have a sick note for you, i'll speak to her after I finish work.
I heard nothing from the employee on Monday.
Yesterday I received a text which simply said 'got a sick note for you'
Where do we go from here? Can I still terminate her employment when she is off sick? and if so how do I go about this?
Ben Jones :

Hello again, do you know what the reasons for her absence are (officially from the sick note)?


No, She hasn;t mentioned dates to and from or what the illness is this time - if you remember last week was a chest infection. Should I text her to find out?

Ben Jones :

you may want to - the only issue here is whether the reasons for her illness amount to a disability because you cannot dismiss her if that is the case (well not just like that anyway, it is a long drawn process).

In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘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. So if there is any possibility that she may be classified as disabled then be careful about dismissal and allow her time off, make sure she has valid sick notes to cover that and then when she returns discuss the situation with her. If it is apparent that disability is not an issue here then you can dismiss her straight away as previously discussed

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer 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? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


She has sent a photo of the sick note however the top section is missing. It states chest infection however I also think it says something else above which is missing, and from the 7th of Sept to the 22nd of Sept.

I am going to text tomorrow to see if I can pop round for them both - this won't be seen as harrassment will it?

Once I have it in my hand I will let you know what it says

Do not just turn up unannounced, get her consent for doing so first. As t harassment, this only happens if you do something on at least two occasions so an isolated incident would not qualify.
Also could I please ask you to leave our rating for the responses above - you can still come back to me afterwards with follow up questions, thank you
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