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Ask Buachaill Your Own Question
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 10949
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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If an employee is suffering from an eating disorder which is

Customer Question

If an employee is suffering from an eating disorder which is noticeable to her colleagues and affecting her work, what steps can and should an employer take to deal with the problem?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
1. I regret to say that an employer does not owe a duty to an employee to take care of their health, other than not to harm them in the course of their duties as an employee. Here, the employer has no duty of care to ensure that the employee with the eating disorder receives treatment. That decision, whether to receive treatement or not, is one purely for the employee. The law does not adopt a paternalistic attitude and force a duty on an employer to have the employee treated for any eating disorder they may have. That decision is solely the domain of the employee. Treatment cannot be forced on the employee by the employer, nor does an employer have to suggest treatment. The employer can suggest treatment, but an employer would be acting outside the scope of their permissible role to insist on treatment of an eating disorder. This is true even where their work is affected. The employer can serve a written warning if work is substandard, but they cannot insist on treatment.