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Disability/capability contract termination advice .

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  • Disability/capability contract termination advice .

    Good evening ladies and gentlemen , i have registered in the hope i may get some advice around a curent problem i am having . If you would allow me to as briefly as possible explain the back story maybe someone will be able to guise me as to where to go next.

    I have been with my curent employer for 32 years of exemplary service , voted Employee of the Year twice and runner up twice more. I have had 7 working days sickness absence in the 32 years service. I appreciate this information carries no leverage but i thought it useful as background info.

    Approximately 5 years ago i was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease , as the symptoms were manageable i continued to hold down my full time role.Last year things were clearly getting worse , although still manageable, i needed to consider my options . I approached my manager and HR representative to see if a day based position or something similar would be available as the shiftss i was doing were making my medication regime hard to manage plus as you will know shift work is detrimenatl to your health regardless of complicating issues like Parkinsons.
    My HR representatove suggested i consider the income protection policy running within my employment benefits. The insurance paid out 75% of my full salary until i reached state pansion age and at the time as i was 64 yrs old i felt the decision to stop working would be better for my well being , even though prior to Parkinsons i intended to work on to 67/68.

    I am 66 in November this year and as i have reached state pension age the 75% payments will cease. I was called in by HR to have a meeting with them and my senior engineer to discuss "the road map" to my retirement. You could have knocked me down with a feather when they started making statements about terminating my contract due to "Capabi;ity " and starting a disciplinary case based on my Bradford Factor. Basially i thought they where pushing me out the door and after 32 loyal years it hurt, and i am left in a conundrum as to what to do and what i can legally expect . As part of the process my employers arranged a Occupational Health assesment to get some medical feedback as to my condition . When i had the OH assesment i explained to the practisioner i felt as though they were attempting to forcibly retire me or at least persuade me to retire and go quietly. I explained to the OH professional that there were treatments and medications that could possibly render me fit to return to work and i expressed a desire that if possible the employer supports me for a period of time longer to allow me to persue these treatments and see where we go from there and not be pushed onto the scrap heap.

    Please accept my apologies fro the "War and Peace" magnitude of my post ,i hope it explains my story and predicament.My initial questions fromall the above are .
    1. Can my employers forcibly retire me based on capability ?
    2. If as i suspect they cannot forcibly retire me but can terminate my contract based on capability how would this look ? for example a pay off of some sort ?
    3. As i had planned pre Parkinsons to work on past state retirement and as i understand it my employers would have to allow me does it not follow that if i would like to "stay on the books" for some time in lieu of getting more effective treatment for my Parkinsons it would be fair to ask my employers to consider supporting me with some form of long term sicknes absensce until all treatment avenues have been explored .

    If anybody could answer my questions or have a view on how this should pan out or any other observations for that matter i would be eternally grateful.

    Tags: None

  • #2
    I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis.

    1. I am not sure what your pension arrangements are (not state pension) but ill health retirement, also known as being "medically retired", is when you are permitted to draw your pension before the age of 55 (or the pension scheme's ordinary retirement date) due to sickness, disability or another medical condition. However, you would need to meet strict criteria. Depending on the pension arrangements this may be something your employer is thinking of exploring with you.

    2. Lack of capability, including when assessed with reference to health, is a potentially a fair reason for dismissal. However, to do this your employer must acted reasonably both in treating the long-term ill health as a sufficient reason for dismissal and in the procedure adopted to dismiss. If they are considering dismissing you for lack of capability on grounds of long-term ill health, your employer should investigate the prospects of you being able to return to work within a reasonable time. Occupational health reports which you appear to have already had are useful for an employer in coming to any decision.

    3. It sounds like you have been off work and on income protection for around 2 years or so. An employer is not obliged to have an employee "stay on the books for some time in lieu of getting more effective treatment" indefinitely. In this respect questions to Occupational Health or even your specialist/consultant around the time for effective treatments being available that might help you to return to work, would be useful for your employer to be aware of when making any decisions.
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