An employee has won damages after taking a personal grievance claim for unjustified dismissal as a result of being sacked as medically unfit.

The Employment Relations Authority found that the employee was unfit to work and the employer made a correct decision to terminate, but got the process wrong.

The employer kept the job open for two months despite the real and serious pressures this put the business under.  It was not reasonable for the employer to engage a temporary replacement due to the nature of the employee’s tasks and the amount of training required.

There was no end point in sight when the employee would be fit to return to his normal duties.

The procedural failures of the employer were:

  1. Sending letters to an incorrect address so the employee had no opportunity to respond.
  2. Failing to advise the employee of his right to a support person.
  3. Failing to follow up when the employee did not provide medical reports on his condition.
  4. Failing to engage with the ACC Occupational Therapist who was trying to implement a return to work program.
  5. Failing to engage with the employee about any light duties available.
  6. Terminating the employment by phone when the employee had requested a meeting to discuss matters.

If a proper process had been followed termination could have occurred.  Lost wages were not ordered, but the employee was entitled to compensation for the poor process.

If you need help with long term sickness issues give me a call on (04) 473 6850.