Does an employer have an obligation to offer an employee any suitable alternative employment before dismissing him or her by reason of sickness absence?

While there is no specific duty on an employer to offer an employee suitable alternative employment before dismissing him or her by reason of sickness absence, consideration of alternative employment would be part of a fair dismissal procedure.

The employee's ill health may prevent him or her from carrying out the job that he or she is employed to do, but the employer should consider whether or not there are positions available in the organisation that he or she would be capable of performing, for example positions requiring less strenuous physical activity. An employer would be better placed to defend a claim of unfair dismissal if it can show that it considered alternative employment for the employee before dismissing him or her.