Medical Termination

I have sadly had a number of medical terminations to manage recently and it has highlighted for me some of the real challenges this brings to an employer.  These are situations where someone, who is often a good employee, is not able to do their job for an extended time and finding temporary cover just doesn’t work.  So you are faced with needing to lay them off on top of their need to recover.

It is good to see the Courts affirm that dismissing someone who was unable to return to their original job because of an injury is not discrimination on grounds of disability.  But you do need to be careful to follow the correct process and amongst other things the Courts look for evidence that you have attempted to assist him/her back into the workplace; that you have clearly taken medical advice on the ability and time frame for a full return; and that if you decide to proceed with dismissal, that you provide reasonable assistance in finding a new job.  All the more if the injury was a workplace one.

Good process includes trying to put a formal Back to Work Plan together in consultation with the employee and their case or rehabilitation manager.  But don’t leave this too late.  As soon as you believe you will have someone off work for more than, say, 3 weeks or there is any indication that recovery will not be full and fast – start the Plan development.  I’ve seen too many employers hold out for 6 months until they need to replace desperately, but still have to go through a couple of months of planning and testing!

If you are wondering whether a situation you are facing may need this – give me a call.

Need help managing staff?

Mike has a wealth of experience advising on every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. I can give you per-phone guidance or work along side you to make things happen.

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