This has been submitted by Peter Lynn and Partners
Often, we are posed the question “What can I do if I have an employee on long term sick who is unlikely to ever return to work?”
It is acceptable, in principle, to dismiss an employee who is unable to do their job due to illness. However, caution needs to be applied.
It is vital that fair procedure is followed which includes consultation with the employee to find out the reason for the absence, obtaining up to date and detailed medical evidence of the current situation as well as the longer term prognosis.
Full consideration also needs to be given to the possibility of finding an alternative role for the employee that would be manageable.
Where an employee is considered to be suffering from a disability, then you are under a positive duty to consider the possibility of reasonable adjustments and these must be fully looked at, before any decision to dismiss is made.
In summary, it may be lawful to dismiss an employee on long term sick, but only if a fair and reasonable process has been followed.
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