The Jersey Employment Tribunal has released a decision relating
to how the employment of an employee ended after he suddenly fell
It was unclear whether he had been dismissed or not and the
employee also wanted to know if he had any legal entitlement
The case highlights the need for employers to follow procedures
in investigating absence from work due to ill health.
The employee was a store man for a carpet company for about 13
years when he suffered a heart attack that required him to have
major surgery and to be absent from work for some time. After being
discharged from hospital, he told his employer that he wanted to
return to work as soon as he was fit enough to do so but as more
time passed, he told others that he would not be returning due to
illness. He continued to be signed off and never became fit enough
to resume his duties as store man. These were too physically
After the heart attack, his employer paid him his holiday leave
entitlement and what it said was two weeks' pay as a
bonus/present. Initially the employee said that the latter was two
week's notice pay but subsequently during the hearing, he
claimed that it was not and that his notice pay was still owing to
The Tribunal concluded that there had been no dismissal; that
the employment had ended due to his ongoing illness. After a
certain passage of time, it considered that it became apparent to
all that he was not going to become fit enough to return to his old
As there was no dismissal, he was not entitled to be given
notice or payment in lieu of notice.
In this case, although the employer had not followed any
procedure at all other than playing a waiting game to see if the
employee had become well enough to return, it could have avoided
the time cost associated with defending the claim before the
Tribunal if it had followed a procedure relating to investigating
absence for health reasons.
If you have an employee who has been absent for some time and
are uncertain what steps, if any, should be taken, do not hesitate
to provide some details to one of our employment team and they will
be happy to advise in the matter.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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