Here we are again… another Monday. I don’t know about you, but I feel like time is just whizzing by at the moment. For once, however, after everyone having such a hard time in this pandemic, I genuinely think there is a new buzz in the air, a more positive and happy energy circulating. I wonder if it has anything to do with being able to sit in a pub garden again…. For me these new bits of freedom have felt so good for the soul, and I am sure I speak for many when I say this, I just hope that we keep powering forwards and working together to surpass the next steps in the government plan.
With the pandemic, we have seen a huge rise in new obstacles that we are all having to tackle… whether it having been the first lockdown, to businesses having to shut, furlough to just generally having to survive in this ‘new world’ we now know. Hand in hand with that also gave rise to the risk of whether COVID-19 would be the kickstart to an influx of new claims.
Well, as we thought would be the case, employment tribunal judgements from COVID-19 related cases now seem to be filtering through. Whilst these cases are not yet binding, they will of course be of much interest to many people.
In one of the recent cases, a tribunal found that the dismissal of an employee who told his manager he would not return to work until after lockdown because he feared he would infect his children (who had ill health conditions) with COVID-19, was not automatically unfair. The employee pursued his claim under sections 100(1)(d) and (e) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, which provides employees with protection from dismissal for exercising their right to leave the workplace and take steps to protect themselves where they reasonably believe there is serious danger and imminent danger. Interestingly, the tribunal rejected the argument that COVID-19 created circumstances of serious and imminent workplace danger, noting that the employer had taken all reasonable safety precautions that the government had advised at the time.
I think the above is an example of many cases to come and is something worth keeping your eye on. What it does scream out, is that employers really need to be making sure that they are taking all the precautions necessary and as advised by the government so as to protect themselves from any potential claim that may come their way.
If you are unsure about what you should be doing or have any queries that you would like to run past us then please do give one of us in the employment team a shout.
Until next time…