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Health and Safety at work and the Coronavirus

Health and Safety at work and the Coronavirus

An employer has a duty of care towards their employees to keep them safe from harm.  This means that an employer needs to do whatever is reasonably practicable to ensure the physical and mental well being of an employee is protected from any thing that may cause them harm.

If an employer breaches this duty, and that breach causes an employee’s injury (or death), then this could give rise to a claim for negligence.

What happens when an employer requires an employee to work in a workplace that the employee believes to be unsafe?

If an employee reasonably believes there to be a serious and imminent danger, the employee could leave the workplace and/or refuse to return to the place of work whilst the danger persists.

What happens if an employer then takes action against the employee?

If an employer doesn’t pay the employee, or demotes them, or takes some other form of detrimental action (or omission) against the employee because of what they did, then the employee could bring a claim for detriment against the employer in the employment tribunal and get compensation.

If an employer dismisses the employee because of what they did, then the employee could bring a claim for unfair dismissal against the employer.   Crucially, this would be an automatically unfair dismissal and the employee does not have to have two years service to bring this claim.  This means that someone who is dismissed on their first day can bring this claim.

If you would like further advise on any of this, please feel free to contact us.

Posted on: 29/Apr/2020 Posted in: Uncategorised
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