Not necessarily. An employer can dismiss somebody that is unable to work for a prolonged period. Obviously, an employer can't dismiss somebody for one or two instances of absence, or any short such period, as it would be unreasonable and unfair to dismiss in such circumstances. But, if it comes apparent that an employee is so poorly that they cannot come back to work for an extended time, then this is sufficient reason to dismiss without a potential claim for unfair dismissal. The relevant periods applicable depend on the type of job, the nature of the illness and so on, so there is no general rule, but I think this answers your question.
I should add, if the illness is something that might be permanent, i.e. lasting over 12 months, it might be covered by disability discrimination legislation, which would compel the employer to look at making reasonable adjustments to try and accommodate the illness and allow the worker to return to work.
I hope this answers your question. If so, please do press accept and leave a little bit of feedback if you don't mind?
where do i stand without a contract
You do have a contract, just maybe not a written one.
The law is the same, but you should have regard to any absence/sickness policies etc. that you the employer does have.
without a contract i have no grievance procedure so where do i stand with the bullying
You can raise a grievance regardless of no written contract.
Anything that can be taken to a tribunal can be the subject of a statutory grievance procedure - which applies regardless of whether you have a contract or the employer has policies etc.
to whom do i raise a greivance as the owner already knows
Is this a small business, do you not have a HR dept?
yes it is a small business with no hr
Okay - well all you have to do legally is inform your employer, but the best thing to do is pass to your line manager, even if this is the overall manager.
If the bullying is such that you have no choice but to resign, that may be an option, and you may be able to claim constructive unfair dismissal. That can be a difficult claim though, and you should take advice on the specific facts of your case and see whether you have enough.
If, of course, you want to consider that option.
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