The use of medical evidence in disciplinary proceedings

Disciplinary action against an employee

When an employer decides to take disciplinary action against an employee for any particular acts which have occurred during their employment it is advisable that all factors which may have an effect on that person’s conduct should be taken into consideration.

Accordingly if that person is suffering with a medical condition which may affect their conduct at work, this medical condition should be taken into consideration when taking disciplinary action against that employee.

If this condition is not taken into consideration then this could result in a claim for unfair dismissal.

Has there been a recent example where a medical condition was not taken into consideration?

There has been a recent case whereby a community worker was sacked after allegedly looking at a porn website in front of children.

How did this occur during his employment?

The issue happened in 2007 when young children were being shown round a school where the man was working as a community worker. The man had logged onto the website meaning that this was shown in front of the children when they were being shown round the school.

What action was taken in this case?

Following a disciplinary hearing the man was sacked from his job.

Was there a medical condition which had some effect on this case?

The man was diabetic and claimed to be having a hypoglycemic episode which meant that he involuntarily logged onto the website and was not aware that he had done this.

What is meant by a hypoglycemic episode?

There are two different effects on the body experienced by diabetics. They are as follows:

  • Hyperglycemia
  • Hypoglycemia

Hyperglycemia

Untreated diabetes is characterised by high blood pressure which is called hyperglycemia.

Hypoglycemia

Diabetics on drug treatment where insulin is required to be taken can suffer low blood sugar which is termed hypoglycemia.

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For more information on:

  • Was this condition taken into consideration during the disciplinary proceedings?
  • What was held upon appeal of the case?
  • Was this the correct decision on appeal?
  • Does this mean that all medical conditions and evidence should be taken into consideration in disciplinary hearings?