Allegations were made against the claimant in Royal Borough of Greenwich v Syed that he had conducted personal matters in his employer's time and using his work email account. He was interviewed and a disciplinary meeting was scheduled. He did not attend that, or subsequent meetings, because he was certified as unfit for work. He also declined to supply written answers to questions. A disciplinary hearing, attended by his trade union representative, went ahead in his absence, following which he was dismissed.
One of the issues considered by the EAT was the tribunal's conclusion that the dismissal had been unfair because the employer had gone ahead with a disciplinary hearing in the claimant's absence, knowing he was certified unfit for work.
The EAT allowed the employer's appeal against this decision; the tribunal had been wrong to make it a condition of a reasonable investigation that an employer must always allow an unlimited period during which an employee could continue to supply certificates of unfitness. There can be circumstances in which a reasonable employer, conducting a reasonable investigation, can proceed in the employee's absence. The case was sent back to tribunal stage to assess whether in fact the employer had acted reasonably.