Our Employment Legal Hour is hosted by Joanna Sutton, Senior Associate in our Employment Department.​

If you require further help regarding employment law please phone us on 01279 755777 or contact Joanna Sutton directly.

Our Employment Law Team will be hosting the Nockolds Legal Hour on the following dates:

Wednesday 31st October 2018  12pm - 1pm 
Wednesday 12th December 2018 12pm - 1pm
Wednesday 6th February 2019 12pm - 1pm
Wednesday 20th March 2019  12pm - 1pm 
Wednesday 1st May 2019  12pm - 1pm 
Wednesday 12th June 2019  12pm - 1pm 


Our Latest Legal Hour Questions (31/10/18)

Read your previously answered questions here
One of our employees has been signed off sick. The fit note from their GP says that they will not be fit to work for another 2 weeks. The employee has been in touch and said they are feeling much better and want to come back to work on Monday. Are we ok to allow them back earlier than the date on their fit note? 

You can let the employee come back to work sooner than it states on their fit note, however you must be satisfied that it is safe and appropriate to allow them to do so. This will depend on the reason why they were off sick in the first place. 

If in doubt you should meet with the employee to ensure that they are in fact fit to return, determine whether there are any adjustments that you need to make to their duties, and ensure that coming back sooner will not exacerbate their illness or medical condition. 

There is a risk that allowing an employee to work when they are not well enough to do so could affect your employer’s liability insurance or increase the risk of a personal injury claim being brought if the employee suffers an injury at work, when they should not have been working at all. 

Therefore, if you think that the employee may not in fact be ready to return to work, you should ask them to get their GP to confirm if they are well enough to work. If that is not possible, it may be better to err on the side of caution and only let them return on the later date specified in the original fit note. 

I started work for a new company a month ago and had a 3 month probation period in my contract. I have just been dismissed even though I haven’t worked the full probation period. Can my employer do this? 
It is common for a contract to include a probation period of between three - six months to allow performance and capability to be monitored during the early stages of an employee’s employment. 
However, the probation period does not give any special protection against dismissal. An employee’s employment can be terminated at any time during the probation period, and there is no need for an employer to wait until it has come to an end before taking steps to dismiss. 

The only time that this could be challenged is if the reason for your termination was discriminatory, i.e. because of your age, sex, race, disability etc. or if you had raised whistleblowing complaints (such as issues with health and safety) and your employer wanted to get rid of you as a result. 

Otherwise, terminating your employment before the end of the probation period is perfectly legal, provided that you are paid in full for your notice period.