03 Apr COVID-19 and risk of infection at the workplace
If an employee comes to work and suspects that another employee has COVID-19 – perhaps they are persistently coughing or they have told others that they have a fever, what can he or she do?
He or she may report the matter to her employer and you would expect that the employer would take action so that sick employee removes themself from the workplace. But what if that employer does not take prompt action?
In these circumstances, it is likely that this employee will be able to go home without fear of any reprisals from their employer. Why? Because, if the employer then tries to take action against that employee for not being at work (for example disciplining them or dismissing them), that employer is likely to face a legal claim against it. What are the legal claims? They are:
- Compensation for any detriment that the employee was subjected to (Section 44(1)(d) Employment Rights Act 1996); and
- Compensation for dismissal – the dismissal will be automatically unfair and the employee will not need 2 years of continous service to bring a claim (Section 100(1)(d) Employment Rights Act 1996).