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Updates in Employment Law

‘New’ legislation regarding disability discrimination is more robust:

In this case an employee who had suffered from stomach adhesions had been issued with a final written warning from their employer, even though the absence was linked to the employee’s disability.  After three months the same employee was absent again, this time it was not linked to his disability, but resulted in the employee being dismissed.

The Employment Tribunal made the decision not to take into consideration the final written warning and that it had led to no adjustments being made.  They felt the final written warning had been appropriate and emphasised that tribunals should take their time when re-opening any previous situations which have occurred, when deciding the reasoning of a later dismissal.

This shows employers that a tribunal is not likely to look at prior warnings again, especially if it does not relate to the unfair dismissal of the employee.  This time the discrimination claim was not successful.  It does however give employers an insight into what options are available to disabled claimants who say their employers have been unfair.

Employees can be disciplined for not reporting absence

In a case where an employee had been given a final written warning.  The employee then failed to report a subsequent absence for two days.  He explained his absence was due to his partner going into labour and that his phone had ran out of battery, however this reasoning was not accepted by his employer and he was dismissed.  The employee claimed he had been unfairly dismissed for taking time off to care for his child.  This claim was not accepted and he was not awarded his statutory right to time off as he had failed to advise them as soon as he could of his absence.

This case gives good advice to employers for when an employee gives reasoning for failing to report absence.  Many employees who have this issue try to rely on the Equality Act 2010.  It is advised that the employer needs to differentiate between the reason for the absence and the failure to report the absence.  If the disciplinary action is down to the failure to report the absence without reasonable explanation then the reason for the absence becomes pointless.

It would be recommended that employers have in place a policy relating to their absence reporting procedure.