If you are not able to do the job that you were employed to do, does your employer have any obligation to help move you into a different position?

In this video Sarah interviews Rebecca Armstrong who is a HR Specialist. The interview was filmed by Fred

Video transcript

Sarah from the MS community:  So in situations, for example, where you aren’t able to do the job that you were originally required to do. say, for example, you’re a bus driver and you were told that you can no longer drive.  Does your employer have any kind of obligation to help move you into a different position in the organisation, or how would things like that work?


Rebecca Armstrong, HR Specialist:  So something that is quite as cut and dried as that, so you need a licence to operate the bus, so they can’t adjust that, they can’t say, oh well, we’ll let you.  You know, it is quite clear. What the employer can do and should do is look to see whether there is a suitable alternative. So that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to create a position, but they should look to see well, what other vacancies do we have within the organisation that might be suitable for you given your current skillset or your potential for developing new skillsets, or with training.  If that’s not possible, then they would have to go down the capability route, so that effectively is dismissal on the grounds of capability. It could be medical retirement on the other side of that as well, so medical retirement is often a situation where the individual is unlikely to work again in any capacity with any employer. So they would be medically retired under their pension or even under enhanced benefits.  If, however, it’s just that this role isn’t suitable for you, so in the case of the bus driver, I might not be able to drive, perhaps there’s nothing else for me with this company, but there could be something else out in the world of work that would be appropriate for me. So perhaps I could become a bus controller in the control room, because I understand the bus routes, etc. So it might be that I can go and get employed elsewhere, so in that situation the employer would be looking really at a dismissal on the grounds of capability, ie, you are no longer capable of doing your role, and in that case there isn’t really an adjustment that they could put in place to enable you to do your role, because it’s quite a clear case.  Where it gets a little bit more challenging is where it’s not quite as clear as that. So where there’s more shades of grey around, you know, actually the employee thinks that they can do the role, but the employer feels that they can’t do the role to an acceptable level, so you start to get this conflicted perception of what’s possible in terms of future employment, continued employment, and that’s where certainly people like your MS nurse and MS team and occupational health should absolutely be involved before an employer makes any kind of decision that would lead to any kind of capability dismissal, that should be the absolute end of the role, the absolute final point. There’s generally always a way to do something to accommodate, generally.

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