An employee was the victim of a major accident at work which caused life changing injuries and is currently off long term sick.
The employee is aware that all staff will be potentially redundant at their site, due to closure, unless redeployed in wider business. The business are proposing to:
1 postpone redundancy consultation with the individual beyond the date of the site closure, to allow a period of recovery time, obtain medical evidence etc. If the colleague makes a recovery and is fit for work/redeployment, then the Company propose to start redundancy consultation and if redeployment is not successful, dismiss on redundancy grounds or
2 If the colleague does not make a recovery, then follow capability process and dismiss on ill health grounds.
In the meantime, the intention is to continue paying full company sick pay which exceeds what we would normally pay contractually.
The cost of his continuing employment, beyond the site closure, will be bourne by another site.
We have met with the employee from a welfare perspective and they are not willing to consent to arrange an occupational health assessment. I have asked management the question, 'what does the colleague want' but managers aren't sure. In my view it is quite possible that the colleague may want redundancy pay and feel there is a benefit in receiving this together with potential compensation that may come from his current ongoing PI claim.
I know it can be tricky in this situation to determine the correct reason for dismissal but my view is that end of March is to early to decide to what extent the colleague may recover and whether we could support with reasonable adjustments in the future as they are still undergoing treatment and having physiotherapy. Therefore, given the redundancy situation would occur before any decision are made about his fitness for work, then the reason for dismissal would relate to the redundancy situation not the ill health and we should consult and continue process rather than delay further.
My view is that if if the redundancy process is applied to all his colleagues, then to treat him differently on the grounds of his medical condition would be discriminatory on disabled grounds (although currently I have no medical evidence that his condition will last for more than 12 months but I would imagine it is likely to be the case. I think the best advice is to continue with redundancy consultation and dismiss but then.
I am not sure if this would impact on any potential disability benefits (if they are relevant)
Any thoughts, views, advice, recommendations