First Tuesday Q&A

The claimant was dismissed by reason of gross misconduct and in particular.

How long must we wait for an employee to participate in an Investigation where the he is providing medical certificates confirming too stressed to participate?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/10/2014 Unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb on how long you must wait. This will depend on the facts of each individual case and there is very little that you can do to speed the process along. Given that medical advice agrees that he is too stressed to participate in the investigation, you may strugg...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

One of our employees took part on our grounds in the Ice Bucket Challenge. It seemed like a good idea and was to raise money for charity. However, one of the employees tipping a bucket slipped and damaged vertebrae in her back. She’s now off sick and threatening to sue us because we allowed the thing to take place without adequate warnings. We didn’t encourage it – we just let the employees get on with it. Where do we stand legally and is this another case of health and safety gone mad? 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2014 Legal liability in cases such as these will be determined on the facts of the matter. An action under common law in a situation like this is likely to be based on negligence. To succeed in an action for negligence the injured party would have to prove on the balance of probabilities that the employ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Health and Safety

Does dismissal for absences due to post-natal depression arising after maternity leave amount to sex and/or pregnancy and maternity discrimination?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/08/2014 Under Article 5A of the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976, pregnancy discrimination occurs where an employer treats an employee unfavourably because of her pregnancy or because of an illness she has suffered as a result of her pregnancy during the “protected period” i.e. from the beg...

An employee was hired on a fixed term contract, however, soon after they were absent on grounds of sickness and the medical certificates submitted indicate a serious mental health issue with sick leave likely to extend for the foreseeable future. A three month probationary period applies to all new employees and no sick pay is given during the probationary period. Can the company dismiss on grounds of capability whilst the employee is absent on sick leave?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/05/2014 In issuing fixed term contracts, employer should be aware of the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002. These essentially give fixed-term employees the right not to be treated less favourably than their full-time comparators unless the tr...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Contracts of Employment Probation

What is the requirement around calculating sick pay for part time employees?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/03/2014 The Part Time Workers Regulations came into force on 1 July 2000. They are designed to ensure that part-time workers are not treated less favourably than comparable full-time workers. In terms of key points to note about these regulations: They apply to men as well as women. There is no qualifying...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Working Time and Leave

Can an employer ask a medical adviser is an employee fit to attend a disciplinary hearing?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/03/2014 A common problem for employers is that of the employee who, on being told to attend a disciplinary hearing, absents themselves by reason of ill health, frequently citing stress as the cause. If the employee is still absent after a period of time the employer may, subject to the employee's consent, ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Can you provide an indication of what is appropriate absence for sick leave that is not continuous but significant?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/01/2014 It is really a matter for each employer to decide what is both reasonable and appropriate subject to the nature of the work and the staff involved. For example, some employers have policies in place where a formal interview process is initiated in any situation where an employee is absent for 10 da...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence

What can an employer do if an employee goes out sick with stress during a disciplinary process?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/01/2014 Sickness absence during a disciplinary process on grounds of stress or anxiety is not uncommon, however, an employee who is unfit to work may nevertheless still be fit to attend a disciplinary hearing if, for example, the stress is related to the employee’s day to day work, or indeed, if other arra...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

I would be grateful if you could give me some guidance on the following issue - If an employee who is on sick leave wants to carry out some work from home in order to not fall behind, how would this impact on his sick pay?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/10/2013 From the point of view of statutory sick pay (SSP), if the employee is fit to work from home I doubt very much that HMRC would view them as eligible for SSP. The test under the legislation is whether he is incapable by reason of some specific disease or disablement of doing work which he can reason...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence

What is the current state of law in relation to disability absences being taken into account by an employer for disciplinary action?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/08/2013 Disciplinary action against an employee for absences that are a consequence of a disability could constitute discrimination arising from disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. If persistent or long-term absence affects the employee’s ability to carry out the job, you should addres...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Discrimination and Equality