Can an employee who is absent from work because of an injury that occurred at work be dismissed?

Yes. The Court of Appeal decision in McAdie v Royal Bank of Scotland plc [2007] IRLR 895 CA established that, where an employer is wholly or partly responsible for an employee's inability to work, it is not precluded from fairly dismissing him or her. Whether or not the employer acted reasonably in all the circumstances in dismissing the employee for incapability is dependent on the reasonableness of its actions at the time of dismissal, not on its responsibility for the incapacity. The position is the same regardless of whether the employee's incapacity is physical or mental, such as work-induced stress. However, although dismissal in these circumstances can be fair, the Court of Appeal did state that an employer will be expected to "go the extra mile" in relation to an absence that it has caused. This is likely to involve making more effort to find alternative work for the employee and tolerating a longer period of sickness absence than normal before dismissing him or her.

It should be noted that, where an employer is responsible for an employee's injury, there is a risk of a claim for personal injury and/or a prosecution under health and safety legislation.