How should employers respond if an undisclosed medical condition starts to significantly affect an employee’s attendance?
The first and most important thing an employer should do is put in place a robust pre-placement medical questionnaire and accompanying procedure as part of your recruitment practices. Whilst you cannot ask a candidate directly about medical conditions during the interview and overall recruitment process, apart from where necessary to allow a fair interview, after a job offer has been made and accepted it is ok to ask the candidate to disclose any conditions which, they believe, could affect their work. If you have this clear process in place and, further down the line, it comes to light that something should have been disclosed but wasn’t, then you can take action on the basis of dishonesty rather than in relation to the illness itself.
on into their employment, then it is important to carry out a risk assessment and meet with the employee to discuss the condition. Further medical evidence may be needed, where applicable. Once you have done this then you can put into place any reasonable adjustments that might be needed to assist them in their role. The idea with reasonable adjustments is that, once they are in place, any time off due to the condition should be drastically reduced or eliminated. If the changes you have made do not have the desired effect then it may be time to consider whether the employee is medically capable to continue in that particular role. You should always seek advice before embarking on a medical capability process as it is important that everything is done correctly.
If the employee does disclose an illness, whether that’s during the recruitment process or further
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