I have just offered someone a job as receptionist in my company- subject to references- and she has accepted and starts in 2 wks. Have just got her references back and she has taken a lot of sick days- 30 days over 15 occasions in 09/10 and 28 days over 11 occasions 10/11. I really don't like this and had lots of other good candidates. Can I simply rescind my offer on this basis or is it more complicated? Thanks
some info here. Is the reason for sickness given at all? If it's anything covered by the disability discrimination act you need to tread carefully. I was horrified to get somebody's sickness record once - truly epic - but it was all related to a type of cancer they had had. Not only had that gone in to complete remission (so was no longer an issue imo) but cancer is covered under the DDA so I couldn't have rescinded the offer without being guilty of discrimination.
As long as the offer letter that you sent her clearly states that it is conditional and dependant on her references then you shouldn't have a problem. You might be able to probe a bit deeper and find out the reason for the absences. If they are just frequent sickies then I think you would be right to offer someone else, but if there is a more reasonable explanation then it might be worth giving her a chance especially if you felt that she was the strongest candidate.
You can't discriminate on the basis of disability - certain illnesses are covered. Renal failure is another one. 15 occasions of one to two days absence sounds like short term malingering - but it could be many things. Fertility issues/miscarriage for example. You do need more information. In my case I work for the NHS so I would have Occ Health requesting more info from her before reaching a decision. It is very awkward - please don't ever offer subject to references again. At least get a verbal reference first.
Thinking about it I think I would be inclined to say to her that her reference doesn't match up with her interview - can she tell you a bit more about whay that is and is there anything else she would like to let you know about. She may not remember how much she has been sick - or she may be trying to hide it.
Grevling - You cannot dismiss 'for any reason' in first 12 months. You can only dismiss for any reason that isn't discrimination. And if the tribunal suspects that the underlying reason (regardless of what you say is the official reason) may be discriminatory, then the onus is on the firm to prove it is not.
As the others say, you need to probe further. Call her in first to ask about the discrepancy between what she said and what the references say, and then hand over to Occ Health or dismiss accordingly, based on what she says.