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Dismissed after 11 months sick due to not being fit for the job


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Hi, I'm asking on behalf on my mum. She's been employed by her company for about 17 years. She has been off sick for the last year or so because she has developed arthritis in her knees and is unable to carry out her job of warehouse person. Her job involves heavy lifting and walking.

 

She's been in pretty much the same role for most of her time in the job and thinks the job itself has had a detrimental effect on her knees.

 

She's been to visit the company doctors and the reports say that she is not in a condition to go back to her job in her present condition and it seems unlikely that she will ever be fit enough to go back to the warehouse. She asked the company to find her a role she can do sitting down or similar but they say there is nothing for her and have dismissed her. They have offered her 12 weeks salary plus some for untaken holidays. She was paid SSP for a short while, then the company stopped payment.

 

I am writing her a letter of appeal in which I will mention that she is to appeal the decision on the basis of disability discrimination.

 

Does she have any case on unfair dismissal and what else should I mention in the appeal letter? (FWIW, the company is a pretty large listed company).

 

Thanks.

Edited by pannyd
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Hi welcome to the site.

 

I am sure you will get some good advice on here. Sorry to hear of your Mum's problems. Sounds like your mother has worn herself out with this job. The company is large enough for a role / job to be found for her. I am wondering if the company have discriminated against her but if she has been off sick for so long and unable to do her job and there isn't a role for her then this could be a problem for her.

 

In regard to your Mum 'thinking' the job has had a detrimental effect on her condition, is there any medical opinion that has said that the job has caused the condition. If there is then perhaps this could be classified as an Industrial Injury but it would definitely depend on the doctors saying so.

 

I think you will need to provide more information as to how she was dismissed. There is normally a process companies go through and I would have thought that will have a big say in regard to whether the dismissal was unfair. Could you expand on that?

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Hi, I'm asking on behalf on my mum. She's been employed by her company for about 17 years. She has been off sick for the last year or so because she has developed arthritis in her knees and is unable to carry out her job of warehouse person. Her job involves heavy lifting and walking.

 

She's been in pretty much the same role for most of her time in the job and thinks the job itself has had a detrimental effect on her knees.

 

She's been to visit the company doctors and the reports say that she is not in a condition to go back to her job in her present condition and it seems unlikely that she will ever be fit enough to go back to the warehouse. She asked the company to find her a role she can do sitting down or similar but they say there is nothing for her and have dismissed her. They have offered her 12 weeks salary plus some for untaken holidays. She was paid SSP for a short while, then the company stopped payment.

 

I am writing her a letter of appeal in which I will mention that she is to appeal the decision on the basis of disability discrimination.

 

Does she have any case on unfair dismissal and what else should I mention in the appeal letter? (FWIW, the company is a pretty large listed company).

 

Thanks.

 

It;s worth a try - but I don't think there is a strong enough case in here for disability discrimination and I doubt it would succeed at tribunal unless you can prove that there are other jobs that she could do which have not been offered to her.

 

Unless you can show that the employer has been negligent, and possibly not even then, then it will be impossible to show that the employer has caused or contributed to her condition in any way which constitutes liability. Arthritis is a fact of aging and genetics, and develops in the general population regardless of working role. The job may indeed have been detrimental to someone with this condition - but that is not a matter of liabaility on the employers part.

 

If she is unable to perform her role safely (in regards to her condition) then the employer must ceryainly not permit her to do so, and a medical report to this effect would seem to confirm that she cannot return to her existing job. The only question then remians whether they do have any alternative roles to offer her which would be suitable - and if they do not then the dismissal is fair.

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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They said that nothing else was available although if she got better(!) she would be welcome to come back to her job.

But they didn't do any formal assessment as to her capabilities, skills etc, perhaps with HR?

Did she see an occupational health professional?

Did they discuss her retraining for a different role?

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But they didn't do any formal assessment as to her capabilities, skills etc, perhaps with HR?

Did she see an occupational health professional?

Did they discuss her retraining for a different role?

 

Apologies for butting in here but with my spouse they never did any of the above except to send her to a company doctor who then recommended she no longer do the same work. However as it factory work there are no suitable vacancies at her company.

Seems the OP's mom and my spouse have a lot in common.

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