Dh has been off work sick since just before Christmas following a breakdown caused by his awful boss (workplace bullying, I guess you'd call it). He has been applying for other jobs and has FINALLY been offered one, hoorah!
But what to do about references/disclosing that he's still off sick? Legally, does he have to tell his new employer? How does he deal with references?
He would have told them at second interview but they've offered the job after first, bizarrely (IMO).
Help, oh wise MNers who have been here/work in HR?
My dh was in a similar position, he had been off work for about a year and was then made redundant. When offered a new job he fully disclosed his past medical history... as new job required a medical and a reference from last job. He felt being honest was best way to go and as the problems were all down to the old job/ boss there would be no repeat. The new employers were fine about eveything. Hope all goes well for you... it is hard I know!
Yes he was.. his situation was quite complex but the gist of it was he ended up off due to stress. He had a great record up til then ... never of sick apart from chickenpox in 18 years so it was quite obvious there had been a real problem.
He doesn't have to voluntarily tell them as such, but they will find out anyway.
His offer might be conditional on a satisfactory pre-employment medical questionnaire, so he'd have to disclose it there. If not, they'd certainly find out when they approach his current employer for a reference.
A previous employer can and will if asked disclose number of days absent, although they can't without permission from the employee disclose details of what the illness was, as that's classed as sensitive information under the Data Protection Act.
I am assuming that although you describe him as still off sick, he is going to be fit to start the new job when required. In other words, the only issue is whether his poor sickness record is a concern for them, not that he won't be able to start when they want him.
If it's a PCT I don't know whether there is usually a medical questionnaire to complete or if they usually enquire about attendance records in standard reference requests, but I think it's safe to assume at least one of those is the case, so it's going to come out shortly. When it comes to that, I'd suggest a chat with whoever his new manager will be might be an idea to explain the circumstances.
They might want to send him to meet with occupational health and/or get a report from his doctor to establish whether this is something that is likely to happen again. Obviously if the doctor can say that it is purely relating to the circumstances in his current job, that's good.
They will find out - and he could be in more trouble for not disclosing than he would be if he was just honest from the start. If they have already offered him the job then it's likely that his past mental health probs wouldn't be a difficulty. If they withdrew the offer because of that then he might well have a good case for discrimination on basis of disability.