Someone I know recently had an asthma attack at work and consequently had 3 days off sick. His employer has a system to tackle sickness which gives people warnings if they are off sick a lot (there are 4 levels of warning then dismissal). My ‘friend’ has already had 3 warnings because he was off sick after surgery (he tried several times to return to work too early and each time was disciplined for going off sick again) and has now been called to a disciplinary following the latest sickness. If this disciplinary results in another warning his contract states that he can be sacked if he has another day off sick in the next year. Also, he works shifts and if he is off sick his boss changes his shift pattern to he has to work extra weekend shifts on his return. Clearly treating employees like this isn’t fair, but is it legal? He is a member of a large union but they have been of little to no help on previous occasions so I have little faith in them now. He is looking for alternative employment but wants to do so at a pace of his choosing and not be in fear of unfair (whether legal or not) dismissal.

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