Very often potential litigation against an employer can be stopped at a very early stage if the processes and paper work used by the employer is robust. An example was where a company, who had a full HR system prepared for them by QHR Solutions, sacked a member of staff for failure to carry out his work satisfactorily. Over a period of some months the company had done their best to support the member of staff to improve but ultimately he still failed to do the job. Eventually the employee admitted that he had a medical condition that actually prevented him from doing the job; the company’s application form clearly asks if the applicant has any medical or physical condition that might affect the job applied for and if the applicant would require any additional support or equipment to do the job. In this case the applicant had answered no to both questions and had signed the declaration, therefore the company were able to dismiss him both for failure to do the job and for failure to declare his condition on application. It is an offence to lie on an application form and any lie can lead to instant dismissal.
A few weeks after his dismissal the company received a letter from a solicitor acting for the claimant claiming unfair dismissal and discrimination based on the fact of his medical condition, alleging that the employer had failed to take this into account. A letter was sent in reply to the claimant’s solicitor enclosing evidence of both the wrongful application and the company’s attempts to support him and the case was withdrawn within the week.
Employers must be aware of the need to follow due process and to keep full records of everything that happens during that process. A manager of a company fired a member of staff for gross misconduct following allegations of theft. Within a month of the incident the manager left the company leaving behind no evidence of an investigation into the allegation and no records of any meetings or discussions. The member of staff filed for Unfair Dismissal and, whilst it was evident from speaking to other members of staff that the dismissed person probably did do as alleged, the company had no way to defend itself and lost the case.