Can you be sacked due to long term sickness from work?
We all believe that a sick employee’s job has to be kept open indefinitely by an employer. But this is far from truth. While it is mandatory to follow a fair procedure to manage a long term absence from work your employer has to show that the dismissal was fair and justified.
What does the Equality Act say?
After the introduction of the Equality Act 2010, it has now become easier for employees to prove their disability and hence be protected under law.
A person can be considered disabled if he or she has a physical or a mental impairment, which has a substantial and long term effect on the person’s ability to carry on with daily activities. This impairment can be expected to last for a year or more.
As per the act, your employer will have to take all required steps to ensure a return to work, which may include looking for suitable duties and alternative roles, as and when possible.
It is important to ensure that any records of discussions that you have had with your employer suggesting reasonable alternatives and adjustments are maintained.
If you are fired on medical grounds
The employment tribunal considers it to be a fair dismissal only if your employer has followed the appropriate procedure and the below mentioned steps should be followed if you are dismissed on the basis of ill health:
- Make sure that the absence has been dealt with in accordance with the company absence policy.
- Stay in touch with your employer to keep them informed regarding their condition and their chances of returning back to work.
- Has your employer commissioned a medical report from medical authorities with your prior permission? Have they reviewed the role and your capabilities and looked for possible adjustments. Have they offered you an alternative role?
- Have they carried out a risk assessment and did they involve you?
- Did they facilitate your return to work.
- Did they stay in contact following your return to work?
In case after following the above guidance, there is no possibility of return to work date, nor any adjustments, your employer can terminate your employment on the grounds of ill health.
Our Employment Law Solicitors can assist with all types of claims. Naturally, we pride ourselves on providing the best possible service to the highest standards, we can provide free employment law advice on all problems.
Call us on 0800 756 6605 or 020 3923 4777
Tom Street qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and has over 20 years experience in employment and litigation law. He studied law at the University of Manchester before undertaking the legal practice course at the College of Law in Guildford, going on to complete his legal training at a firm in Chancery Lane, London. Once fully qualified, he moved to a niche litigation practice in the City of London.
In 2010, Tom set up his own legal practice, Tom Street & Co Solicitors and as part of this, in accordance with his strongly held objective to provide everyone with an easy pathway to justice he established the online portals Do I Have A Case? and Tribunal Claim. These websites are trading names of Tom Street & Co Solicitors.