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Long Term Sickness Dismissal: How To Avoid Discrimination Pitfalls28th Jan 2016

by on 28th Jan 2016


Employers should take care not to discriminate when dismissing employees with long term sickness, warn Coles Miller Solicitors.

Length of service is relevant when deciding whether or not to dismiss - but the dismissal procedure should be the same for all employees.Neil Andrews

Otherwise the employer could face claims of discrimination or unfair dismissal, Coles Miller employment law solicitor Neil Andrews told the TeamJobs HR Forum.

The free quarterly forum at Salterns Harbourside Hotel, Poole attracted its largest audience of HR professionals to date.

“Employers must always be very careful when considering whether to dismiss an employee suffering from long term sickness,” said Mr Andrews, a partner at Coles Miller’s Poole office.

“Employees suffering from long term sickness may also be considered disabled. The employer will need to consider carefully how to approach the situation.

“Remember, unlike unfair dismissal claims, the compensation in a discrimination claim is uncapped,” warned Mr Andrews.

To protect themselves, employers should always:

  • have a clear policy on long term sickness and dismissal procedures
  • consider all the circumstances of the case before taking action
  • get medical evidence to assess the employee’s prognosis
  • consult with the employee concerned
  • consider alternatives to dismissal, such as reducing the employee’s hours or moving them to another role
  • seek legal advice at an early stage.

The HR Forum was over-subscribed, attracting 26 HR managers and executives from companies including Jordans & Ryvita, Inoplas Technology and Mortgage Intelligence.

Guest speaker Becky Boston of Romsey-based Emphasis Ltd outlined a practical guide to managing absence.

For more information, contact Coles Miller Partner, Neil Andrews on 01202 355695.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.