Case study: Dealing with long-term absence

BACKGROUND: A bus driver, Mr P, is diagnosed with depression after the sudden death of his daughter just two days after she gave birth. He is off work for seven months and, despite having 10 years of service, Mr P is sacked on 90 days’ notice.

OUTCOME: Mr P explains that he has been unable to return to work because he struggles to concentrate and frequently breaks down in tears. He fears getting back behind the wheel in this condition would place passengers and other road users at risk.

Both Mr P and First Group consult with doctors regarding his health and it is confirmed that a return-to-work date cannot be determined. First Group does not comment on this but assures that it has polices in place to support and engage with employees after bereavement.

It is still unknown if Mr P intends to take his dismissal to a tribunal.

KEY POINTS: Dealing with bereavement absence is a difficult and sensitive subject. Acas has recently published guidance regarding this matter.

Click here to see our factsheet on managing long-term absence.