Can an employee who is expected to have a long period of sickness absence due to injury sustained during participation in a dangerous sporting activity be dismissed earlier than would normally be the case?
It is possible for an employer to dismiss fairly an employee who has been, or will be, absent for a long period of time due to ill health. Such a dismissal would be on the grounds of capability, and the employer must show that it acted reasonably both in treating the long-term ill health as a sufficient reason for dismissing the employee and in the procedure adopted to effect the dismissal. It is unlikely to be reasonable for an employer to dismiss an employee earlier than would normally be the case just because the employee's absence is due to an injury sustained while undertaking a dangerous sporting activity, unless the employer has a good reason for taking such an approach. Even with good reason, the employer should clearly communicate to all employees its policy of taking this approach to injuries sustained during dangerous sports, before implementation.