In First Leeds v Haigh, the EAT was required to consider the fairness of a dismissal of an employee for long term ill health where ill health retirement was not given full consideration. Mr Haigh worked as a bus driver for First Leeds and suffered two strokes resulting in long periods of sick leave. Mr Haigh was finally dismissed with notice with effect 8 February 2006 having first fallen ill in June 2005.
The EAT considered the provision of an enhanced ill health retirement pension in the pension scheme which was payable to employees who were deemed to be permanently incapable of efficiently discharging their duties. It held that First Leeds, as a reasonable employer, should have considered whether Mr Haigh was entitled to these benefits. It further upheld the tribunal’s findings that First Leeds failed to adequately consider the medical evidence at each stage of its procedure. Employers should be fully aware of the ill health benefits which might be available to employees on long term sickness absence and ensure that appropriate medical reports are available at each stage to ascertain entitlement to such benefits.