ACAS Code of Practice does not apply to dismissals on the grounds of ill health says the EAT
In Holmes v Qinetiq Ltd, the Claimant was employed as a security guard and was dismissed on the basis that he was no longer capable of doing his role due to his ill health.
The employment tribunal found in favour of the Claimant and awarded compensation for both unfair dismissal and unlawful discrimination. However, despite the employer’s failure to follow the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (the Code), the tribunal did not award any uplift on the compensation.
Under s.207A(2) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, if the tribunal feels that an employer has unreasonably failed to follow the guidance set out in the Code they can increase any award they have made by up to 25 percent. The tribunal concluded that the Code does not apply to ill health dismissals because the Code does not apply to internal procedures operated by an employer which deal with an employee’s alleged inability to do the job arising solely from sickness absence.
The issue of culpability was central to the question of whether the Code applies. In this case disciplinary procedures were not invoked because there was no question of the employee being culpable in relation to his conduct or performance. The EAT concluded that the tribunal had been correct to refuse an increase to the award and confirmed that the Code does not extend to dismissals on the grounds of ill health.