Following two referral appointments to our company Occupational Health physician (in accordance with agreed policies in place), we received a written recommendation, on both occasions, that employee was fit to return to work on lighter duties for a phased period of time and that this employee’s local GP was in agreement with the Occ Health person's opinion. The employee was informed on both occasions of the recommendations but maintains that, in his opinion, he remains unfit to return to work and intends to be guided only by his local GP, who subsequently issued him with a further cert for a further extended period of time after the 2nd appt date. What is the company’s legal entitlements in such a situation? Is it appropriate for an employer to make a decision to discipline and/or withdraw entitlement to sick pay solely based on the opinion of its Occupational Health physician's recommendations due to their expertise in this area? Or would it be best practice to seek a third party opinion before any action is taken?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 5 March 2013
Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

In such circumstances, the occupational health specialist should be asked to make contact with the employee’s GP to ascertain whether there is any additional information that can be provided by the GP that would cause him/her (the occupational health specialist) to change their view of the individual’s medical fitness to work.

In circumstances where there is conflicting medical evidence, and it is not possible to reach a consensus between medical practitioners, or where the medical opinion given by either medical practitioner lacks clarity, is inconclusive or the occupational health specialist lacks medical expertise in the relevant area, a third or additional medical opinion should be

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

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Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Zelda Cunningham. Contact telephone number is +353 1 618 0000 or email

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