Ill health dismissal
Case 6: The facts
Mr Haigh, a bus driver for 30 years, had some kind of brain disturbance while driving; his GP suspected it to be a stroke, and his licence was suspended for 12 months. His employer’s occupational health doctor advised that his condition could not be classified as permanent at that stage, although the doctor was seeking a further report. Without waiting for further information about Haigh’s medical condition, the employer dismissed him.
A tribunal found the dismissal to be unfair, saying Haigh’s employer had dismissed him in order to avoid the cost of ill health retirement.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld the tribunal’s ruling. When an employee is entitled to an enhanced pension on retirement through ill health, it said, the employer should give proper consideration to ill health retirement before dismissing for long-term sickness.
Haigh’s employer had not waited to discover whether his condition was permanent, or even what it was. The employer should have waited for a specialist opinion, the EAT said, and should have kept open the possibility of ill health retirement.First West Yorkshire Ltd t/a First Leeds v Haigh UKEAT/0246/07 ( IRLR 182)