As an employer, it’s only natural that you’ll notice if something seems amiss with one of your staff – but what happens if you raise concerns but they refuse to admit something’s wrong?

If you have genuine concerns for an employee’s health and wellbeing but they refuse to declare an illness, there are two things you can do:

  • Ask them for their consent to seek medical advice from their GP
  • Request that they attend an independent occupational health specialist

If you wish to get your employee medically assessed, it’s important that you can objectively justify your reasoning for making the request.

Managing the situation

Providing you have genuine concerns for the wellbeing of the employee, it would be important to seek medical advice in relation to the illness in order to allow you provide the employee with the accommodations they require. This, in turn, will reduce the risk of them having persistent bouts of absence or long-term absence.

If an employee is persistently absent from work or on long-term absence, it can significantly impact the operation of the business through, for example, underperformance. The employer can try and prevent this from happening by taking action on receipt of the medical report e.g. if the employee is suffering from mental health concerns such as depression, you can implement an employee assistance programme, which is a confidential counselling service.

Refusal to cooperate

If the employee refuses to allow you seek medical advice, unfortunately, you’ll have to make a business decision based on the information available to you – which may result in disciplinary action for unsatisfactory levels of absenteeism or underperformance in the role.

Where absences are reaching an unacceptable level, or you have concerns regarding their performance, it’s important that you first question the employee on each occasion to ascertain if there is an underlying condition connecting the absences. If they still deny it, you can proceed on the information available to you.

Implementing a disciplinary procedure for sickness absence does not mean that you’re questioning the employee’s absence on whether it is genuine or not. It simply means that your company cannot perform to the best of its ability and the concerns need to be addressed.

If you have any questions regarding the issues in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact our 24 Hour Advice Service on 01 855 50 50