We have an employee who has been on long term sick for almost two years. Redundancy is not the best option as she has the longer length of service. She suffers from post natal depression and submits medical certificates on a monthly basis, certifying her off for four weeks at a time. She states her doctor is not in a position to determine a return to work date. At what stage is it suitable to discipline long term absence, if at all?Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 5 July 2011
Your question raises a number of different issues. Firstly, it is not permissible to select an employee for redundancy purely on the basis that he/she is absent on sick leave. This would constitute discrimination on grounds of disability, in contravention of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2008 (the "EEA"), as well as unfair selection for redundancy, in contravention of the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977-2007 ("UDA"). Maximum liability under these acts is two years’ gross remuneration, which is limited to actual loss where claims are brought under the UDA but is not so limited where
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