I have recently been off sick for 8 months, whilst off i have been issued with a 1st stage and a 2nd stage warning.Can you please tell me is this legal?I work with Royal Mail.
HiThank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. I will try to help with this. Please RATE my answer OK SERVICE or above.-Could you explain your situation a little more?
what else do you need to know?
Hello, my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law. What is the reason for your sickness? How long have you worked there for?
The reason for sickness is a torn back muscle on the right-side of my back and i am right handed.
I have worked there for 24 years.
Disciplining an employee due to their sickness record is potentially fair. First and foremost the employer needs to comply with any relevant sickness or absence procedures and employment contract provisions. Then they need to conduct an investigation, which would involve:• Investigating the nature, extent and likely duration of any illness. Asking the employee for information and obtain medical reports if appropriate. • If absences are short-term and intermittent, investigating whether there is any underlying cause (medical or otherwise). If necessary, following capability or disciplinary procedure, offering practical guidance and assistance, setting timescales for improvement, and giving warnings where appropriate.The employer then needs to review the alternatives:• Before taking a decision to discipline, consider surrounding circumstances, age and length of service of employee together with action taken in respect of similar circumstances in the past.• Consider importance of employee and/or the post occupied, to the business, the impact their continued absence is having on the business and the difficulty and cost of continuing to deal with their absence before contemplating formal action.• Consider whether employee could take up alternative employment or whether there are any other options that would avoid the need for formal action.• If the employee has been absent long-term and is unlikely to return in the foreseeable future the employer should consider claiming under terms of any Private Health Insurance policy or ill health retirement (and seeking additional medical evidence for such a claim if required).It is not uncommon these days to treat sickness absence as a disciplinary matter and issue formal warnings due to consistent or prolonged absences. Eventually an employee may even be dismissed, although that should always be seen as a last resort and only if it appears they won't be returning in the near future. Another issue is whether your condition is classified as a disability. Disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of conditions that amount to a disability under law. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled for legal purposes, they need to establish whether they meet the definition of ‘disability’ as laid down in law.Disability is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 (“EA”) and is defined as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. I will break down this definition so that you get a better idea of the requirements necessary for a condition to amount to a disability:• Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition. It includes progressive conditions, can include mental conditions such as depression and dyslexia and certain conditions (e.g. cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis) are automatically protected from the point of diagnosis;• Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;• Long-term - the effect of the impairment must have lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months;• Normal day-to-day activities – these are not defined but would include anything considered ‘normal’ in one’s normal daily routine (e.g. eating, washing, driving, walking, going shopping, etc.)If you consider yourself to be disabled certainly mention this to the employer as they will need to treat you more sensitively in the circumstances. In addition they would need to make reasonable adjustment to try and help you with your work and that could include some leniency when it comes to absences.Important information: As professionals on this site, it is extremely important that our customers rate the service we provided. This only takes a few seconds. I would therefore be grateful if you could please choose one of the following options: OK Service, Good Service or Excellent Service. If you feel the need to leave a lower rating, please reply to me first with any further questions you have. I will be happy to assist further and clarify anything you need me to. Thank you
Expert in UK Employment Law
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