New Recruits' Health Not up to the Job?

New Recruits' Health Not up to the Job?

Is your new recruit too sick to work? Plus, discovering misleading health information.

By Marcia Smith

What to do if a new employee is sick and can't work?

When you hire a new employee, you have the right to dismiss them without notice within the first month of employment. You can dismiss them without having to give a reason unless they have worked for you for two years or more. During this time, employees cannot claim for unfair dismissal.

After two years, dismissing someone for long-term sickness, where there is no prospect of them being able to carry out their job, is generally permissible.

However, right from the first day of employment all staff have the right not to be discriminated against. Firing someone for sickness is not discrimination, but firing them because of a disability is illegal.

What if a new employee has been dishonest about their fitness?

If the employee knowingly provided false or misleading information to you in the process of applying for the job, you’re legally able to fire them for this. You can also fire any employee without reason within the first two years of employment.

Furthermore, if your business has suffered financially then you could sue them for these losses. This could include lost productivity, or the cost of paying other staff to work overtime to cover the role. However, this will depend on exactly what you asked the employee during the hiring process, and whether they reasonably believed their answers to be true at the time.

In all cases, you may be liable for a claim of discrimination if the employee is disabled. Applicants aren’t legally obliged to tell you about a disability.