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Termination due to Health Reasons

Call Center jobs are considered hazardous jobs due to the nature of work. The agents need to report mostly on night shifts, they don’t have enough sleep, and the job is really stressful (irate clients). In most cases, agent’s health is slowly deteriorating that it somehow affects work productivity. However, can a person be terminated due to health reasons?

According to Dole Labor Law, the employee can be terminated if he/she is suffering from disease that can be prejudicial to his/her health or co-employees health. In other words, the employee can only be terminated if the disease prohibits him/her from working.

For ‘habitual’ absences, it is better to consult with the doctor for long term cure of your sickness.

As for HR, here’s a great comment from Dru Salazar:

I have a different suggestion.

The person is sick and you taking away their means to have themselves treated is just downright cruel, right?

Here’s a multi-layered, alternative way of handling the problem:

1. Put the person under prolonged medical leave. She just needs to provide sufficient documentation from her doctor and that should cover it. You’re basically saying here that she’s not fired but she will not be physically reporting for work. That should address the attendance issue.

2. Now for her pay, allow her to exhaust all her leaves, file with SSS and find ways of helping her out. Can the company extend some financial assistance? Then extend some. Why do this? So that she will feel that you care. Why does that matter? Because people don’t sue people they care for. In doing this, you’re basically protecting your company from a DOLE complaint from her.

3. Now to cover the productivity part, talk to your management of the possibility of her working from home every now and then. Look at her job description, tasks and deliverables and see if there’s anything she can do remotely and just submit via email. If there’s none, look at the other departments. Encoding jobs, coordination via phone or email, simple liaison work to nearby locations maybe?

4. If #3 doesn’t work out, then consider hiring a reliever during the duration of her medical leave. That way, your productivity issue is solved without going through the unpleasantries of illegal dismissal.

Lastly, if our career as HR practioners, it would help if we know all the hard laws and stuff to guide us. But remember, always be the HUMAN in Human Resources.

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