News and Events

Dismissals following Bullying Induced Stress Absence

  • Posted

The Court of Appeal has upheld the EAT's decision in McAdie v Royal Bank of Scotland (see bulletin 30/11/06).

The case considers the fairness of a dismissal where the employee was on long-term stress-related sick absence, caused by bullying and mismanagement at work.

The Court of Appeal ratified the EAT's reasoning, holding that:-

  • the fact that the employer has caused the incapacity in question, however culpably, does not preclude it from fairly dismissing the employee
  • the real question is whether the employer acted reasonably "in all the circumstances" - and the circumstances include the fact that the employer was responsible for the original absence
  • where the employer is responsible for an employee's incapacity, it should normally be expected to "go the extra mile in finding alternative employment for such an employee, or to put up with a longer period of sickness absence than would otherwise be reasonable" (this is a quote from the EAT judgment, with which the Court of Appeal agreed).

[Thanks to Jane McNeill QC and Damian Brown of Old Square Chambers, who acted for the successful employer, for telling me about this judgment]