We have an employee who following a disciplinary (where the outcome was a final written warning and redeployment) has been signed off sick with stress for the past 5 months.

The employee has refused to attend an Occupational Health Assessment and will not give consent to a GP report, so we have no details regarding what exactly he is claiming is causing him stress. Generally he is being very unco-operative.

The employee’s most recent sick note expired yesterday and we are yet to receive another one.

I have a couple of questions as follows:

1. Is there anything we can do about the non-cooperation regarding a medical report? Our absence policy states

“We reserve the right to apply for a medical report or request that you attend a medical examination by a nominated doctor or other specialist, as and when deemed necessary, for example, in the event of prolonged or recurring absence through illness, or on your return to work. These will be arranged and paid for by the Company. As appropriate you will be advised of your rights under the Access to Medical Records Act 1998.”

Does this non-co-operation warrant disciplinary action considering he is signed off with stress?

2. How long is a reasonable length of time to allow between sick notes before the employee is considered as AWOL?

Tina Bull