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Medical Certificates

February 25, 2015

In a case last year, an employee who had wanted extended leave and when refused, produced a suspicious medical certificate, was held to have been unjustifiably dismissed.

There were two reasons why the dismissal was unjustified. First, the employer did not raise its suspicions with the employee before making inquiries. Secondly and more importantly, the employer did not in the end have good reason to dismiss the employee because whilst the circumstances and the certificate itself looked suspicious, an objective view of the evidence would have led to the conclusion that the certificate was legitimate.

Medical certificates can be a problem:

* Employees, as patients, can no doubt fool their doctors;

* It may even be that some doctors are too willing to provide certificates (I am not saying that this is the case in fact);

* Some certificates are vaguely worded;

* Privacy laws that prevent facts being disclosed without consent.

The medical council has set out standards that doctors should observe when giving certificates but that in itself doesn't ensure that employers will get all of the information that they need, unless the employee consents to their doctor providing further information.

Please contact me if I can help with an employment law issues or any business law/commercial law issues.

This update provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice. If you want legal advice on any of these issues, please feel free to contact me.