An established partner (M) of a large firm of solicitors was absent for some five months with stress. An increasing caseload had created pressure at work. Some clients had complained about delays and fellow partners were concerned that his responsibilities were not being fulfilled.
M had been counselled but had failed to improve. A formal warning was given shortly after which, his absence began. There was no doubt that the stress was genuine but the situation could not remain unresolved.
The firm did not want clients to be aware of the dispute. M realised there was fault on his part but felt that many years of loyal service, working along with friends, warranted more sympathetic treatment.
Neither side felt that they could reveal their hands too soon.
In mediation a resolution was soon found. The firm wanted to be reasonable but felt that M could never contribute at the levels now expected. M recognised the fact that he was not as sharp as he was and welcomed a different challenge.
A package acceptable to both sides was agreed, plus a partial release from some restrictive covenants.