Introduction to this document

Letter to sick employee confirming disciplinary hearing

If an employee has been signed off on long-term sick leave during the disciplinary process, there will come a point when you need to progress the disciplinary hearing to its conclusion. Use our letter to do this.

Signed off sick

It’s not uncommon for you to commence disciplinary action against an employee but then for them to produce a fit note signing them off sick for a few weeks before the disciplinary hearing has taken place. In this scenario, your first step is to use our Letter to Sick Employee Postponing a Disciplinary Hearing to postpone the hearing until they’re well enough to attend. If the employee’s absence is only going to be short term, it’s reasonable to simply wait until they’re well enough to return. However, if it’s looking like their absence is going to be prolonged, you shouldn’t just let the situation drift indefinitely. You must balance your need to conclude the disciplinary process promptly whilst it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds against the employee’s need to recover their health. So, the next stage is to use our Letter Offering Options for a Disciplinary Hearing to provide the employee with various alternative options for holding the hearing.

Employees response

If the employee accepts one of your options, the hearing can go ahead. However, if they reply saying they want to attend personally but they're still too sick, use our Letter to Doctor Seeking Advice on Whether Employee Fit to Attend a Disciplinary Hearing. You will first need the employee's consent to approach their doctor for a medical report under the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988. Alternatively, you might have no response from the employee.

In absentia

Our Letter to Sick Employee Confirming Disciplinary Hearing is for use as a very last resort, and it covers the two alternative options of either no response from the employee to your earlier letter or a medical report from their doctor confirming they’re too ill to attend for the foreseeable future. It confirms that the postponed hearing will now go ahead, even in their absence, and sets up a date and time for it. However, it does still offer them two options - either to submit a detailed written statement answering the allegations and/or to send along a representative to act on their behalf. Plus, if the employee simply failed to respond to your earlier letter, they do still always have the option of attending in person.

Hearing format

If you do hold a hearing without either the employee or their representative present, make it as fair as possible, treat the evidence with care, ensure you take detailed notes and then ideally send those notes to the employee for their comment before the hearing chair takes a final disciplinary decision. Always give a right of appeal.