Sickness absence was compelling reason

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Date:
26 Jan 2010

high sickness absence may constitute a compelling reason to dismiss a health and safety representative. this was recently established by the copenhagen city court.

By:
Elsebeth Aaes-Jørgensen
High sickness absence may constitute a compelling reason to dismiss a health and safety representative. This was recently established by the Copenhagen City Court.
 
Health and safety representatives often enjoy better protection against dismissal than their colleagues: they can typically only be dismissed for compelling reasons.
 
In this case, an unacceptably high sickness absence was the compelling reason which led to the dismissal of a health and safety representative. She had been reprimanded by her employer for her sickness absence on a regular basis and had most recently been required to show up for work at a set time every day for 3 months and to reduce her absence and the deficit of hours accrued on her flexitime. Before the end of the 3 months, however, she was dismissed because her employer found already after 1½ months that her work attendance was still unstable.
 
Unacceptable absence
The health and safety representative did not believe that there were compelling reasons to dismiss her and brought the matter before the Copenhagen City Court. She submitted that her sickness absence was not a compelling reason and that, in any event, she could not be dismissed before the end of the 3-month period.
 
The Court sided with the employer, noting that the sickness absence was unacceptably high and that the employer was entitled to dismiss her before the end of the 3-month period.

 

Norrbom Vinding notes

  • that the case illustrates that a high sickness absence may constitute a compelling reason to dismiss a health and safety representative; and

  • that even though an employee is required to show stable work attendance over a period of time, this does not prevent the employer from terminating the employee’s employment if it is clear already before the end of the period that attendance is still unstable.