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Follow these 4 steps when investigating an employee's permanent incapacity

by , 03 February 2016
Permanent incapacity refers to the permanent inability of an employee to work according to the requirements of the job.

Now, should one of your employees become permanently incapacitated, you may want to investigate it. But what procedure should you follow?

Well, here are 4 basic steps for you to follow...


The first step should be you, the employer, raising concerns around the relevant employee's capacity to carry out her job, or excessive absence from work because of illness or injury.

You could send a written notice which calls the employee to a meeting in which the problem can be discussed.

NOTE: You may also want to call the employee and have a discussion BEFORE handing her the notice. This is more personal and can help things run more smoothly.


The second step is the first meeting.

Remember that the employee may wish to be represented by a shop steward or a co-employee.

The meeting should cover things such as:

1.       Your concerns with the employee;
2.       Input from the employee to understand the nature of the perceived incapacity;
3.       A discussion over the need for medical examinations, reports and certificates; etc.

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Once you collected enough information with which to understand the nature, extent and duration of the incapacity, you should decide on how to deal with it.

This should also be discussed with the employee and her representatives, should she have any.

In this discussion, you should discuss whether or not the employee can be accommodated, if she qualifies for some form of disability benefits, whether temporary or permanent and so on.

NOTE: ONLY if you can't accommodate the employee, and if you can't find any alternatives for her, should you consider dismissal.


To find out what the final step is, turn to chapter I04: Incapacity: Ill-health or injury in your Labour Law for Managers Handbook. If you don't have a copy yet, click here

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