Fitness to attend a disciplinary meeting
Have you ever invited an employee to a disciplinary meeting only to find that they go off sick the following day with stress?
Attending a disciplinary meeting is likely to cause anybody feelings of anxiety and worry, but in many cases, delaying any formal investigations or hearings is likely to increase the anxiety further and can delay recovery if the employee has a condition affecting their psychological wellbeing. For employees off with a mental health condition, quite often the root cause is related to the reason they are being disciplined, so the sooner the issue can be resolved, the sooner they know the outcome and can start dealing with the consequences. All the uncertainty is only likely to add to the anxiety.
In order for an employee to be fit to take part in a disciplinary procedure, they need to be able to understand the process and be able to take part in the process (either in person, by written submission or through instructing a third party). There needs to be a medical judgement made that the proceedings are not going to cause the employee harm, and consideration needs to be given on any adjustments that will make the process easier for the employee to attend (regular breaks, meeting time kept to a reasonable length, consider neutral venue etc)
There are times when a GP may state that the employee is not fit to attend a disciplinary process. In these circumstances getting an occupational health assessment is appropriate, as the occupational health professional will be able to provide an independent opinion and can liase with the GP to inform them of the adjustments that can be made to make it easier for the employee, and can discuss the risk of prolonging the illness by delaying the process. In most cases, the employee will be fit to attend.
If you need advice on whether your employee is fit to attend a disciplinary meeting or hearing, or any other occupational health advice, pick up the phone and call us today.