With legislation on the way that allows for an employee to accrue annual leave while on sick leave, the necessity for employers to manage such employees is essential. Employers considering dismissing an employee who is on sick leave must be mindful of a potential claim for discriminatory dismissal, unfair dismissal and/or breach of contract.
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A‘no-fault dismissal’ is a method of dismissing an employee by giving of reasonable notice but without following any procedures. It’s a method that Sir Alan Sugar would be familiar with in The Apprentice when he simply states, “You’re fired”. The two main legal remedies open to an employee who is dismissed are to either bring a claim to the Employment Appeals Tribunal under the Unfair Dismissal Acts, or to seek a High Court injunction preventing the dismissal from taking effect until the hearing of the breach of contract claim.
It is extraordinary how many employers continue to have to pay awards due to procedural errors when dismissing an employee for misconduct. The principles of fair procedures and natural justice are broad concepts which have been refined by case law but which vary from situation to situation.
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