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Can you be fired while on sick?


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Old 19-05-2012, 09:59
phepia
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I have been employed for almost 4 years at my current place.
I am currently 14 weeks into a sickness benefit claim (ssp)

What I would like to know is can a company legally sack me for being off sick?
No offences against me while I was working, I have been off since the start of February due to a operation that I needed. Work had been informed of this when I joined the company and that I had been putting it off for years till it was impossible to work. Since i've had my operation it has taken me longer than I expected to recover, I had expected to be back on the 13th of May, but my doctor says I am not fit yet and I have got further treatment expected to aid recovery.

I know that work can cancel my contract stating fitness for the job, but can I fight that if its the case?
And what about financial aspects- does anyone know what rights I have over losing pay due to this?

Thanks
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Old 19-05-2012, 10:20
Keefy-boy
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You can I'm afraid be legally fired when off sick. The employer may be justified if there is no sign of you being able to return to your normal duties in a reasonable period of time.

As far as the financial aspect you would no longer be entitled to SSP through your employer if you're employment is terminated.

If you could get your own doctor's report to give a good prognosis that would make it more difficult for them to legally fire you.
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Old 19-05-2012, 10:49
Pistol Whip
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It's perfectly legal for a company to fire you for long term sickness, and rightly so. They shouldn't be expected to carry on paying somebody to do a job that's not being done.

How can you possible justify a fight when you are aren't up to the job?
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Old 19-05-2012, 10:56
DaisyBumbleroot
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It's perfectly legal for a company to fire you for long term sickness, and rightly so. They shouldn't be expected to carry on paying somebody to do a job that's not being done.

How can you possible justify a fight when you are aren't up to the job?
If the company knew about this when they took the OP on.
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Old 19-05-2012, 10:56
Impinger
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I have been employed for almost 4 years at my current place.
I am currently 14 weeks into a sickness benefit claim (ssp)

What I would like to know is can a company legally sack me for being off sick? No offences against me while I was working, I have been off since the start of February due to a operation that I needed. Work had been informed of this when I joined the company and that I had been putting it off for years till it was impossible to work. Since i've had my operation it has taken me longer than I expected to recover, I had expected to be back on the 13th of May, but my doctor says I am not fit yet and I have got further treatment expected to aid recovery.

I know that work can cancel my contract stating fitness for the job, but can I fight that if its the case?
And what about financial aspects- does anyone know what rights I have over losing pay due to this?

Thanks
Generally speaking, you can't be sacked simply for being off sick unless you're falling foul of sickness absence policies, such as phoning in sick every other Monday, and even then there's a procedure to be followed before you would eventually get sacked (providing you're not on a probationary period at the time).

For long-term sickness, as is in your case, you can lose your job depending on the circumstances. Employers have the right to expect a certain level of efficiency from employees and if someone's long-term sickness is causing operational difficulties for them then they can terminate their employment on that basis without prejudice. It would be a last resort though for any employer worth their salt.

If you're worried about your job security the best you can do is keep your employer fully up-to-date with what is going on and phone in regularly even if there's nothing to report. If there's weekly/monthly staff bulletins, ask if you can be sent a copy. Just things that lets your employer know that you'd rather be there than be off sick.
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Old 19-05-2012, 11:36
barneyboy
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If they think you are incapeable of covering your position, youre gone.
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Old 19-05-2012, 12:12
CitySlicker
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I have seen people be sacked for sickness absence by several employers - at least two of them are big household names everyone will have heard of. The arguments used by the big two are to say they don't doubt the genuineness of the illness but it is the impact on the business it is having. I don't know enough about your situation to suggest you may be covered by 'reasonable adjustments' under the disability discrimination act, but I get the impression on what you say that no reasonable adjustment other than you being off work will help. Therefore the employer probably has no other option than dismissal I am afraid.

Financially you would then need to put in a sickness benefit claim (Employment and Support Allowance).
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Old 19-05-2012, 12:20
woodbush
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They can dismiss you when off on sickness.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employme...ence/DG_185054


Losing your job while on long-term sickness

Employers can dismiss someone on long-term illness as a last resort only. Before making a decision they must consider:[LIST][*]if working part-time or flexible hours would help your return to work[*]if there will be a full recovery or if a return to the same work is not possible[*]if you could return if some assistance was given[*]if alternative, lighter or less stressful work is available, with re-training if necessary[/LIST]If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed due to long-term sickness you can have your case heard with an Employment Tribunal
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Old 19-05-2012, 12:46
Lou Kelly
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I don't think Employers are under any obligation to bend over backwards to accomodate long term sickers. Can't blame them, really.
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Old 19-05-2012, 12:49
phepia
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It's perfectly legal for a company to fire you for long term sickness, and rightly so. They shouldn't be expected to carry on paying somebody to do a job that's not being done.

How can you possible justify a fight when you are aren't up to the job?
I have managed to do this job for 5 years (1 and a bit with their sister company and then transfered to my current job with the same company)
They have been kept aware of my health, and they are also aware that I have worked all these years with rare time off work due to this - 1 week in the 4 years of being at this place, and that was due to a minor surgery procedure that I had prearranged the time off to suit their work scedule. I would hardly call that not being up to the job. I have worked 60 hours per week in a hell of a lot of pain, and have often been crying while doing the job.

As far as I was aware I was under the assumption that as I have a long term disability then they could be breaking the law if they sack me while I am off sick.


Right now I have kept them updated regarding the fact that it could take longer to get back to work, and I have seen the works doctor over this. I do not know of the results of this as of yet. But from looking at CAB website I get the impression that if they do sack me then I could be able to appeal this.
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Old 19-05-2012, 12:57
CitySlicker
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I have to say be careful. You can appeal any dismissal if you feel it is discriminatory or constructive. However from a disability perspective, as Woodbush has pointed out, so long as they have tried to explore other avenues to help you return to work, they have done what an employer legally needs to. Your assumption about them breaking the law sacking you whilst you are sick is not really correct even if it relates to a disability - they can do so long as they have covered all bases about helping a swift return to work.

The best thing you can do is try to find out when you may be able to return to work and offer this as an olive branch. Even if it is on part time hours doing a different job. Saying that, I have known people return to work after long absences and an employer saying it was still too much time off despite them being back at work so they still got the sack.

A tribunal won't get you your job back. It might get you a few thousand pounds - probably three months wages if you're lucky - and you'll have a lot of stress before that point unless you have a union or solicitor take your case forward. It's not worth the hassle.
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Old 19-05-2012, 13:00
Keefy-boy
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IAs far as I was aware I was under the assumption that as I have a long term disability then they could be breaking the law if they sack me while I am off sick.
To claim unfair dismissal you would have to prove that you had been discriminated against because of your disabilty (ie treated differently because of it.) That does not I'm afraid make you unsackable for being unavailable for work for an extended period due to sickness.
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Old 19-05-2012, 13:04
gerr60
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You need to talk to CAB or some other advice service, they are the experts in this field.
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Old 19-05-2012, 14:39
myview
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yes you can.
im a contractor, and i was off sick for a client for 3 days because I had the common cold. Me being the decent and reasonable person, I said I wont come in but can work from home because:

1) I wouldnt want to infect others with my cold
2) I couldnt bare the 1.5 hour journey each way in my condition
3) I have all the close necessaities at home (i.e fluids, bathroom, warmth etc....)

I then got terminated.

so you have it far easier than I did. This was going back around 6 years ago. And every year they beg me to come back to them. I always tell them "no" because of unfair dismissal and who have no morals or health understanding AT ALL - how can you fire someone when they are sick and ill? Makes no sense....
...but thats UK law I guess.
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Old 19-05-2012, 14:50
Throgmorton1
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Sadly yes you can - ill-health isn't your fault - but neither is it the fault of your employer - there will come a time when when employers have to pull the plug on long term illness.

On the plus side - fitness notes are tailor made for returning to work after illness. If you talk to both your doctor and your employer - you should find that, when you are well enough, you can have a phased return to work - maybe starting off with a few hours every other day and gradually building back to full-time.
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Old 19-05-2012, 15:26
turquoiseblue
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I was sacked whilst off sick. My employer preferred to call it a termination of my contract.
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Old 19-05-2012, 22:33
cdtaylor_nats
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Myview - you were a contractor - you weren't fired, the contract was terminated because you failed to perform. If your electricity supplier failed to provide you with electricity would you find another supplier or just keep paying them until they did?
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Old 19-05-2012, 23:04
myview
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actually you could not be more wrong. there was no performance issue AT ALL.... there never has been nor will there be. didnt you read my entire post?

seems to be the problem today - people not reading things carefully and properly! seems like you have the performance problem here....

That was the reason why I got terminated - because I WAS ILL. I even have it in writing.

did you also read the fact that they still come back to me every year wanting me to go back to them? if there was a performance issue then do you think they would do this? I think not!

so no matter what you think, I would know more because I am the one that has been through it and knows the situation very well and more than you
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Old 19-05-2012, 23:11
goldielox
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They can sack someone off on long term sick but, to cover themselves legally, they should follow their own capability procedure.
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Old 20-05-2012, 01:41
woodbush
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I have managed to do this job for 5 years (1 and a bit with their sister company and then transfered to my current job with the same company)
They have been kept aware of my health, and they are also aware that I have worked all these years with rare time off work due to this - 1 week in the 4 years of being at this place, and that was due to a minor surgery procedure that I had prearranged the time off to suit their work scedule. I would hardly call that not being up to the job. I have worked 60 hours per week in a hell of a lot of pain, and have often been crying while doing the job.

As far as I was aware I was under the assumption that as I have a long term disability then they could be breaking the law if they sack me while I am off sick.


Right now I have kept them updated regarding the fact that it could take longer to get back to work, and I have seen the works doctor over this. I do not know of the results of this as of yet. But from looking at CAB website I get the impression that if they do sack me then I could be able to appeal this.
Did you not even read my post

If you want advice from the professionals contact ACAS.

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1461
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Old 22-05-2012, 12:30
tony13579
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I have been employed for almost 4 years at my current place.
I am currently 14 weeks into a sickness benefit claim (ssp)

What I would like to know is can a company legally sack me for being off sick?
No offences against me while I was working, I have been off since the start of February due to a operation that I needed. Work had been informed of this when I joined the company and that I had been putting it off for years till it was impossible to work. Since i've had my operation it has taken me longer than I expected to recover, I had expected to be back on the 13th of May, but my doctor says I am not fit yet and I have got further treatment expected to aid recovery.

I know that work can cancel my contract stating fitness for the job, but can I fight that if its the case?
And what about financial aspects- does anyone know what rights I have over losing pay due to this?

Thanks
Your ilness should be covered under the Equality act. (replaces DDA act)

If your illness lastes over a year and prevents you doing day-to-day activities like dressing shopping then the equality act gives you significant protection.
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/disabled...hts/dg_4001068

and HERE http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/u...disability.pdf
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Old 23-05-2012, 22:37
Little Nell
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As others have said, it's a potentially fair reason for dismissal, on the grounds of capability. To quote from the CAB website:

This may relate to the level of skill needed to do the particular job or to the fact that you have been ill and so your employer thinks you are not capable of doing the work.

Some employees who are ill may be protected by the Equality Act.


But the employer should go through the normal disciplinary procedures which include the right to appeal.
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Old 24-05-2012, 09:17
phepia
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Well they are little assshites imo right now.

I saw their company doctor at start of the month while still being covered by sick notes. The doctor claims I am fit to work, even though I have maybe 50% movement back, and in a lot of pain and whenever I use my shoulder the joint feels like it has swollen up inside and I cannot move it. I can also not carry push things with it without alot of pain. I am unable to carry 2kg without pain right now, and this imo is not safe to be back at work.

Background info: I am a bus driver, I have had a long term shoulder impingement caused by a pratt crashing into a bus I was driving in 2003. I gained enough movement back to be passed for driving by the DVLA and got my PCV license back in 2007, but was told that it would need another operation at the time as I still had impingement in the joint. I finally had my operation in February 2012 but its still causing me problems.
Have kept work up to date in all that is happening. Right now I am 14 weeks into sick period.

As a result of their doctors report they claim I am able to drive a bus despite having the above problems still, and I have been told that if I don't report to work I shall be disciplined for failure to report to work. My doctor is appalled by this and has refused to allow me back to work- if it was to cause a accident due to this then myself and my GP would be liable, not the company. Plus as I am not fit to work yet if I was forced to go back I would be driving one handed - this is illegal in its own right. I tried to tell this to work but they are still insistent and will not pay me any more sick pay, and that I am to return to work asap- I have refused to do this.

The HMRC and DSS both claimed on the phone that this is bordering on illegal and have launched a investigation into the company to try and get my sick pay back.
So it may seem that instead of being sacked due to being on the sick, they will probably fire me now for failing to report to work.
I am not sleeping due to this as well, things are going round and round in my head. As far as I was concerned that if you have a note from your gp then that is that. Not that work can override it and claim otherwise.
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Old 24-05-2012, 09:49
gerr60
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Wheres your union, they could call a strike if you are sacked while disabled.
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Old 24-05-2012, 09:54
peon
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actually you could not be more wrong. there was no performance issue AT ALL.... there never has been nor will there be. didnt you read my entire post?

seems to be the problem today - people not reading things carefully and properly! seems like you have the performance problem here....

That was the reason why I got terminated - because I WAS ILL. I even have it in writing.

did you also read the fact that they still come back to me every year wanting me to go back to them? if there was a performance issue then do you think they would do this? I think not!

so no matter what you think, I would know more because I am the one that has been through it and knows the situation very well and more than you
doesn't the OP mean that your sickness meant that you were unable to perform (duties due to absence) rather than questioning your performance generally whilst at work? i think you've misunderstood him / her.
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