When Sarah was dismissed for failing to follow the absence reporting procedure it really did add insult to injury.
The 32-year-old, from t Bristol, suffered serious back and leg injuries in a road traffic smash.
Sarah was off work for a number of months and kept the insurance firm, where she worked for five years, updated throughout.
She sent in her fit notes on time, provided updates and responded to emails and telephone calls from her manager as arranged.
Sarah was in constant discomfort, became largely housebound and was also diagnosed as suffering with depression.
Sarah agreed to contact her employer two days before her fit note ran out in order to provide an update on her condition and likely return to work.
However, when she failed to do so and did not respond to telephone calls and emails the situation changed very quickly. Sarah, who was suffering with severe depression at the time, submitted her fit note four days late.
On the same day she received a letter inviting her to a disciplinary hearing for failing to follow the absence reporting procedure. Sarah had a verbal warning for previous absences.
Sarah was unable to attend the hearing at the first time of asking and notified her employer on the day it was due to go ahead. The company proceeded with the hearing in her absence and decided to dismiss Sarah, who immediately contacted Castle Associates for help.
At the appeal hearing our representative argued the decision to go ahead with the hearing was grossly unfair and the decision taken unduly harsh.
Our representative used employment law to argue an employee’s right to a disciplinary hearing is the bedrock of a fair dismissal process. He also highlighted Sarah’s illness to demonstrate she was genuinely unwell and unable to attend the disciplinary hearing; the fact the company had not sought any medical reports in order to understand her condition; and its own disciplinary policy stated if an employee cannot attend a hearing it WILL be rearranged.
Sarah’s desired outcome was to be reinstated. The week after the appeal hearing she was informed her appeal was successful.
Sarah eventually recovered her injuries and illness and returned to work.
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