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In employment law one of the five potentially reasons for a dismissal is on the grounds of capability.

Capability is the ‘can’t do’ rather than the ‘won’t do’ we may see in the workplace. It is the employee with arthritis that is struggling to get onto the floor to be with the babies, its the employee who can’t read a book out loud at story time.

Its not a disciplinary matter, as the employee can’t help it.

As we all know not everything is black and white. Grey areas include:

  1. Timekeeping- how do we know that someone is late because they choose to ignore the alarm clock, or because their caring responsibilities prevent them for arriving on time?
  2. Illness- how do we know that someone can’t attend work regularly because of a genuine condition, or whether they are choosing to remain away from the workplace.
  3. Attitude – someone with ‘mood swings’ how do we know whether they are in control of their attitude or not. How do we know whether this is a conscious behaviour or an unconscious one?

If in any doubt I have always relied on the Capability Procedure.  I’ve never been criticised for using a capability procedure by a worried partner, concerned colleague or parent. Everyone gets that if a reasonable employer is concerned about it’s employee it has the right to sit down and discuss its concerns formally.

Following a Capability Procedure can be a very positive experience. It can lead to an improvement. It’s use doesn’t have to mean that someone is going to lose their job.

However, plenty of people will have had their employment terminated on the grounds of incapability for work. If you follow a fair process, that’s a fair dismissal.

So if you don’t operate with a Capability Procedure I would highly recommend it to you. You can buy one especially written for Day Nurseries and Pre Schools at www.thehrshop.co.uk  at just £9.99 delivered.

If you have any queries about Capability please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’d love to help.