Case Study – Animal Park

The client is a dual purpose organisation, consisting of a purpose-built health, fitness and spa centre set in the grounds of a private nursery, preparatory and senior school.

The Client
An animal park offering bird of prey experiences, flying displays, school visits, children’s parties and photography workshops.

The Brief
The client had a disabled employee who came to the company via the government Workstart scheme. The employee’s performance and attendance had begun to cause concern and the client was worried about potential disability discrimination in dealing with the issues.

The Solution
Solutions for HR initially adopted an informal approach to discuss the problem in a sensitive and non-intrusive manner. During an informal discussion the employee advised that she was feeling tired and this accounted for her frequent absences and performance issues. We recommended offering a temporary reduction in hours which the employee accepted. The employee was also advised of the improvements expected.

Despite the adjustments made, the situation quickly deteriorated and within two weeks the employee was certified off work for 4 weeks by her GP with work-related stress.

Solutions for HR engaged the services of an Occupational Health Professional to evaluate the employee’s condition, reasons for absence and to advise on measures to facilitate a return to work. The OH report confirmed that many of the reasonable adjustments possible had already been implemented, for example changes to duties and working hours.

The employee was invited to a formal capability meeting to discuss the content of the report, any further support the client could offer and whether the employee was fit to return to work. Further absence capability meetings followed at regular intervals and eventually the employee agreed that there was nothing further that the company could do to facilitate a return to work and she simply could not cope with the work. She subsequently resigned.

The Result
Our involvement ensured that the client fulfilled their obligations under equality and disability legislation, especially the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

We ensured that professional medical evidence was obtained to allow fair treatment and sensitive decision making. In addition we ensured that the capability procedure followed the structure set out by ACAS best practice guidelines.