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Topic: Disciplinary, capability and dismissal

letter to sick employee postponing a disciplinary hearing
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Letter to sick employee postponing a disciplinary hearing

Letter to sick employee postponing a disciplinary hearing

It is not uncommon for you to commence disciplinary action against an employee but then for them to produce a statement of fitness for work signing them off sick for a few weeks before the disciplinary hearing has taken place.  Use our letter to sick employee postponing a disciplinary hearing to tackle this issue.

Too stressed to come

In the majority of cases, the employee will be signed off with anxiety, stress, depression or something similar.  Basically, they’re normally saying the threat of disciplinary action has stressed them out to such an extent that they’re not fit to work.  Of course, the statement of fitness for work may be for something wholly unrelated, but this is not common.

Length of absence

If the employee is only going to be off for a few days (for example, they have flu or a stomach bug), wait until they are fit to work and then simply re-commence the disciplinary process.  However, if the absence looks rather more long-term than that, use our Letter to Sick Employee Postponing a Disciplinary Hearing.  This sets out that the disciplinary hearing has been postponed until such time as the employee is well enough to attend but goes on to provide that if the employee’s absence becomes prolonged, you will contact them to discuss alternative ways of progressing the disciplinary process to a conclusion. 

Other options

As an employer, you have to balance your need to conduct the disciplinary process promptly whilst it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds against the employee’s need to recover their health, even if you suspect the employee is malingering to buy themselves some time.  Be prepared to postpone a disciplinary hearing at least once or twice on the grounds of ill health. Then, re-schedule it for the week after the statement of fitness for work expires, i.e. when the employee is due back at work.  If the employee is then signed off sick again, write to them in a sympathetic manner and offer the following options for the hearing:

 to hold the disciplinary hearing at their home, on neutral territory or by telephone

 to send their statement to the allegations in writing if they feel they’re not fit to attend a hearing in person

 to send along a representative (such as a relative, work colleague or friend) to act on their behalf if again they think they’re not fit to attend personally.

You can use our Letter Offering Options for a Disciplinary Hearing. Warn them that a failure to reply to your letter could result in the postponed hearing being held in their absence.


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