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Case Studies

Case Study: Get well soon?
The Client
A regional kitchen design and fitting company had an elderly part-time employee who had been off sick for over two years. They had not been officially informed of the nature of her illness; "Post-operative recovery" was all they were told on the medical certificates from her GP. There had also been some other issues over the communications between the employee and the MD of the Company and he had got to the stage of not sleeping for worrying about the situation.

The Challenge
The MD had consulted his solicitor, who recommended that he contact Helen Astill of Cherington HR to assist in the resolution of the problem. Helen met with the MD and reviewed the whole case. It had become clear that the MD needed someone to take over the resolution of the matter as the working relationship between him and the employee had broken down. He delegated responsibility to Helen to take the matter forward.

The Solution
Helen met with the employee and a friend whom she had brought to support her. They discussed the whole situation to clear up the misunderstandings that had arisen during the previous two years when the company had tried and failed to arrange meetings to discuss the employee's return to work. Helen offered the employee a Protected Conversation and they discussed what would be acceptable to resolve the situation. Helen then liaised with the MD and his solicitor so that they could draw up a Settlement Agreement as it was her considered view that in the circumstances the best outcome for all concerned would be for the employee to leave.

The Results
A settlement agreement was reached such that the employee left and the risk of any potential tribunal claims was removed. The MD was now aware that in future it was important to deal with sickness absences at a much earlier stage. He could also finally sleep more easily at night!

Key words: Absence; Performance Management; Reasonable Adjustments; Breakdown in Working Relationship; Protected Conversation; Settlement Agreement; Solicitor


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