/ Employment Law

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GRUMPY MONKEY - on 19 Feb 2013
Looking for some employment law advice. I work for a local authority and have been off sick twice in past year with Flu and a virus. Provided employer with GP med cert on both ocassions. If illness is related to an underlying medical condition then employee is not subject to disciplinary. I have a sleep disorder and GP stated I am suseptible to viruses due to lowered immune system resulting from sleep disorder.

However employer states they do not accept that this is the case and that medical certificate is not suficient evidence, hence they are taking disciplinary action.

Anyone know anything about employers right to challenge a med cert and on what basis? And what would be considered sufficient evidence if a med cert is not sufficient. Any knowledge of law helpful. Thanks.


hokkyokusei - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY:

Presumably by 'med cert' you mean 'fit note' that says what you are capable of during your illness? What did your fit note say on the instances you were off work, and how long were you off work for? Seems a bit fishy on teh face of it unless your flu and virus lasted six months each ;)

Did they specifically say 'disciplinary' though? Typically, if an employer wants to get rid of an employee who has long term sickness, they would use a 'capability route to dismissal.

GRUMPY MONKEY - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to hokkyokusei: Fit note said Flu/ sleep disorder & virus/sleep disorder. off for 2 weeks & 1 week respectively. They mean disciplinary - I work for a local authority with a very aggressive sickness management policy.
damo5000 - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY:

Surely if your doc has signed you unfit for work, then surely your employer would no be insured to have you even there etc?
The New NickB - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY:

Sounds very aggressive, they cannot discipline you for this. Check the NJC Agreement, this will be part of your contract also speak to your union if you have one.
Cthulhu on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY:

I'm not an employment lawyer, but I think that if they were to discipline you for 3 weeks off with doctor's notes you'd have strong grounds to appeal against it.
hokkyokusei - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY:

you need to familiarise yourself with your employers disciplinary policy. Make sure you understand it and make sure they follow it.

The various ways of dismissing staff are described here:
https://www.gov.uk/dismiss-staff

From your description it doesn't seem like they know what they're doing. You can't be disciplined for being ill. If they think you're faking it, they should say so and possibly ask you to see another doctor.
EeeByGum - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY:
> (In reply to hokkyokusei) Fit note said Flu/ sleep disorder & virus/sleep disorder. off for 2 weeks & 1 week respectively. They mean disciplinary - I work for a local authority with a very aggressive sickness management policy.

It is good to see the local authority is spending its time and money wisely. When you were off, there will have been a cost to the authority, but pursuing this bullsh1t will cost way more, not to mention the destruction of moral within the staff. It beggars belief. You have my sympathy.
Mooncat - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY:

Just to be clear, is this managing under sickness policy or disciplinary?

Assuming it's sickness, I'd guess that your employer has had occupational health advice, they'd use this in conjunction with your doctors notes but I'd be amazed if their policy said all related absence has to be discounted. If you haven't already, ask to referred to occupational health, they'll advise if you're likely to covered by the equalities act, if you are they may well discount some absence related to your condition.
Kev Fox - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY: In my experience companies try to enforce their will upon you in relation to employment law and health and safety. 9 times out of 10 i find they do not know the law and when challenged they back down. Id pick up a copy of the latest employment law book from your local library and do some research.
3leggeddog on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY:

Contact your union/professional association, it will be helpful to have a copy of the sickness policy, discipline policy and grievance policy to hand. Have occy health been involved?
Dave Perry - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY:


Even if sickness is not related to an underlying medical condition you should not be subject to a Disciplinary procedure and local authorities should know better. Check your NJC book and look at the procedure for Capability & Diciplinary.

Disciplinary = Won't Do
Sickness = Can't do

That said if the employer chooses not to believe or acceept a sick note they are legally entitled to not accept it. But what normally happens is they'll use an occupational health service to get a second opinion. But from my general experience is employers very,very rarely refuse to accept a clear statement from a GP on a fit note.

If this was raised your line management I'd have an informal word with your HR dept as thy'll know better (or should do) - if it was raised by your HR department I'd consider raising a formal grievance with your employer and this should prevent his getting out of hand. Your LA weill have a written grievance procedure which will be in the JNC book.

If push comes to shove you will win because the employer can produce no evidence to support their argument.

(I'm an ex - HR Manager and employment law advisor and member of the CIPD)

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