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Advice on sick leave

Advice on sick leave

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Following a decision to over rule a grievance raised against another member of staff, the originator of the grievance is now in sick leave due to the stressful situation at work. What are their rights to refuse the invite to an appeal hearing whilst they are signed off by the Doctor as unfit to work?

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By Taradaynes
29th Aug 2012 16:30

They may be unfit to work, but this doesn't necessarily mean they are unfit to attend a meeting. While on sick leave, & presumably sick pay, they are still technically on your time - they are not on holiday, so you do have some say over what they do with that time, as long as you're not making unreasonable demands!

As with disciplinary hearings, sickness reviews etc., they have to make every reasonable effort to attend. You can make it easier for them to attend with a few reasonable adjustments, e.g. having the meeting off-site (even at their home), or by Skype or conference call etc. But if they continue to postpone (at least 3 times), you can have the meeting in their absence - make this clear to them though & offer them the opportunity to put their case in writing to be considered at the meeting, so they can't claim they were not given a fair hearing.

If they are absent with stress that is related to the situation, they may claim that it will be too traumatic an experience for them. But you can offer to mitigate the stressful circumstances in various ways (e.g. changing the location as above, having regular breaks in the meeting etc.). You can also point out that by postponing the meeting, they are prolonging the situation & a speedy resolution would be better for their well-being! As long as you are making every reasonable effort to accommodate their needs, they also have to make every reasonable affort to co-operate. If not, you can go ahead with the process & make a decision that is within your remit using all the available information - if they are limiting this information by refusing to attend, then that is their responsibility if you've done all you can do!

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