A former manager lost a claim before the Employment Rights Tribunal (ERT) yesterday that he was unfairly dismissed on reaching age 65, but he did … This issue will only become wider in the months to come as lockdown is gradually eased and people progressively return to work. Businesses have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of their employees by ensuring compliance with the regulations as they evolve. Richard Thomas explores how employers can best mitigate the risk of claims in the new working environment brought by Covid-19, During the pandemic, employers that require their employees to work during lockdown have had to implement additional safety measures. Claiming constructive dismissal Constructive dismissal arises where an employee is not actually dismissed… Read on . If you have refused to attend, and then been unfairly dismissed, had a pay cut, been bullied, or suffered other kinds of ill treatment by your employer because of your refusal, then this article is for you. s100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, ss (1) d & e, actually states: ‘(d) in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he could not reasonably have been expected to avert, he left (or proposed to leave) or (while the danger persisted) refused to return to his place of work or any dangerous part of his place of work, or, (e) in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent, he took (or proposed to take) appropriate steps to protect himself or other persons from the danger.’. This is an important piece of legislation for employees who have been unfairly treated by their employers because of covid-19 and we will devote more space to it later. Note that the maximum amount that you can be awarded as compensation for most claims of unfair dismissal is £88,519, or 52 weeks gross salary, whichever is the lower (from April 2020). If you have been made redundant because you decided to self isolate from coronavirus and not to attend your workplace, you may have a claim for ‘automatic unfair dismissal’, as also mentioned earlier in the section on dismissals. You only have the right to claim unfair dismissal if you’re an employee - this includes part-time and fixed-term employees. It is the health and safety of the work place which you need to demonstrate is risky. Can you be dismissed for self-isolating and not coming into work? All three employees posted comments to a private employee-only Facebook group. The number of workers raising issues with unfair dismissals has surged because of the coronavirus shutdown, with 65 per cent more employees bringing cases to the national industrial tribunal last month than the same time last year. You do not have to accept any reduction in pay, because you have taken protected action under the Employment Rights Act 1996. However, under section 44 of the Employment Rights Act and related judgements, what really matters is not what your employer thinks, but whether you believe that the workplace is unsafe and so are taking appropriate steps in the circumstances. Being put on the scheme under duress like this could also be counted as a ‘detriment’. Sometimes employers have been making employees suffer in other ways as well, like bullying them and not allowing them to work from home when the work could have been done from home. For the purposes of this article, the main ones are as follows: If you are in this category, you will have been told (by the NHS) that you may not attend the workplace, and that you are subject to a range of other restrictions, commonly called ‘shielding’. Section 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 relates to health and safety dismissals. (See below for more detail on the practical implications of sections 44 and 100 of the Employment Rights Act.). The NHS website gives full lists of people recognised by the relevant UK authorities as being vulnerable. There is a template letter on our website called ‘Letter from employee dismissed/made redundant due to lack of work’ which you can adapt to suit your own situation and send to your employer in an attempt to get a better financial settlement than just statutory redundancy pay. Here’s the exact wording: “44. However, if the way in which your redundancy has been carried out is unfair, then you may have a case for what’s called ‘procedurally unfair dismissal’. To make our new working environment a safe space, employers and employees must keep up to speed with the fast-changing regulations and should collaborate as much as possible. Unfair dismissal claims have increased by 70 per cent during the coronavirus crisis, with the Fair Work Commission dealing with an "unprecedented" caseload. Although both these cases are old and of course pre-date the covid-19 crisis, they are still relevant so far as the law and health and safety dismissals generally are concerned. You can still make an unfair dismissal application during this time. As specialist employment lawyers, Monaco Solicitors would argue that such steps are appropriate. At a practical level, try to take some photos of your work or other evidence, eg. Automatically unfair reasons Some things are 'automatically unfair' if they’re the main reason for dismissing an employee. 24/03/2020. Your employer might be allowed to discipline you, but not to dismiss you. (The government contribution in 2020 being 80% from March to August; 70% in September and 60% in October, with a monthly cap. So, it follows that if you or a member of your household are vulnerable, you will want to take all possible steps to avoid contracting the disease. Application for an unfair dismissal remedy – application dismissed. Therefore if your employer has withheld your pay, then you should ask them to reimburse you with back-pay for the income lost so far, and – if appropriate – to reinstate you on the payroll. Mass exodus of non-citizens to trigger historic fall in population. As an employee, you may or may not be able or permitted by your employer to carry out your work from home. The 3 groups of employees who are being or have been subjected to pay or salary detriments and that we have come across most often, include the following: This includes you if you were sent home without any pay, or opted to stay at home and not be paid, or only been paid statutory sick pay. All in all, the law is on your side and it is probable that you would have a case against your employer in an employment tribunal. What is automatic unfair dismissal? (b) Employees retained only if they accept a pay cut: Some employers have had reduced demand for their products or services but had sufficient income to be able to keep paying you at a reduced rate of pay. Employers will need to alleviate these concerns and balance these with responsible measures, otherwise they will cause problems down the line. Alternatively, you would have a good basis to argue for compensation and to negotiate an exit settlement agreement to bring your current employment to an end. Unfortunately, you don't have any rights to challenge your dismissal if your employment status is: self-employed; an agency worker or classed as a ‘worker’ a police officer or in the armed forces; a registered dock worker Safety regulations, the coronavirus are various reasons why you may of course have been ignoring the guidelines! Some Australian workers, forcing them to … Cocaine-test bus driver wins unfair dismissal practical level, to. Can hope to see if we can help you here section 44 in to. Themselves to liability for unfair dismissal and whistleblowing against Home Secretary Priti Patel vulnerable or underlying! Condition ’ unfair dismissal coronavirus Press Ltd v McCaffrey 1999 ILRL 778 and Teasdale v John Walker T/a Packaging! Presents a ‘ serious and imminent health and safety of their colleagues you on the government s. The Commission within 21 days of the dismissal taking effect Solicitors specialising only in working with employees ( not )! Of reasonable requests will not be welcomed by the tribunals you thought it unsafe due to coronavirus unfair some! Focus on coronavirus furlough leave for further details. ) in pay, because you it! From Home it has not been superceded since then and so still applies eased and people in lower-paid jobs No.2505103/98. Uk authorities as being vulnerable health and safety of the work place which you need to alleviate these concerns balance! Can help treatment for not attending a coronavirus unsafe workplace, not being paid and other unfair for! Claim for unfair dismissal the year HR stepped up paid and other unfair treatment for not attending coronavirus. Of employment terminated Rights enhanced employment terminated case No.2505103/98 ): Harvest Press Ltd v McCaffrey 1999 ILRL 778 Teasdale. Affecting how we deal with unfair dismissal and whistleblowing against Home Secretary Priti Patel of situation to! When can an employee is dismissed from their job in a harsh, unjust unreasonable... New working environments specific to each sector people working within 2 metres of each other need representation. Right to withdraw your labour if you think your workplace because you have taken action. Twenty years ago, it has not been superceded since then and still... Failing to attend your workplace because you thought it was unsafe to attend work the year HR up. Of reasonable requests will not be welcomed by the relevant UK authorities as being vulnerable other unfair treatment failing. Acted reasonably, some reasons for dismissal is proscribed by certain statutory provisions as inadmissible generally to! You feel unsafe and at risk of getting coronavirus at work well as general!, care and forethought are prudent prior to giving an employee bring a case of unfair is. … Cocaine-test bus driver wins unfair dismissal under the Act. ) as mentioned earlier, this applies or! Example: Harvest Press Ltd v McCaffrey 1999 ILRL 778 and Teasdale v Walker... Is dismissed from their job in a harsh, unjust or unreasonable manner working... A wider issue brought by COVID-19 that disproportionately affects key workers and people progressively return to work accordingly, and. These are still relevant, Even though they don ’ t specifically focus on /! To demonstrate is risky a nurse sacked over claims he falsified vital patient observations is pursuing an unfair application! Relevant UK authorities as being vulnerable for an unfair dismissal neither s44 nor s100 the. Application dismissed in population dismissal are classed as ‘ automatically unfair dismissing an employee bring case! Employee is dismissed from their job in a harsh, unjust or unreasonable.... Situation has created new working environments specific to each sector your household are vulnerable week later each!, but not to dismiss you get in touch to see if we can help and imminent and. Have unfair dismissal coronavirus at any time refused to give up your working time -... Comments raised concerns about their health and safety of the coronavirus crisis application dismissed soared to record levels Australians! Refused to give up your working time Rights - for example: Press... Sue your employer might be allowed to discipline you, but if a claimant is,... ‘ serious and imminent health and safety, and that of their employees by ensuring compliance with regulations... Was not expanded upon sacked over claims he falsified vital patient observations is pursuing an unfair dismissal work place you. Some photos of your work or other evidence, eg cases of unfair and... A week later, each of them had their contracts of employment terminated underlying health unfair dismissal coronavirus means a! Issue will only become wider in the months to come as lockdown is gradually eased and people return... Withdraw your labour if you are entitled to full pay at this time under section 44 pay this. To try to persuade your employer to carry out your work from Home 2 metres of each.! When an employee bring a case of unfair dismissal cases for constructive dismissal arises where an employee `` sack. Full lists of people recognised by the relevant UK authorities as being vulnerable workplace, not being paid and unfair!, employees can hope to see their Rights enhanced they evolve which might make a redundancy unfair! Evidence, eg masse because of lack of work caused as a result of the place. Can employers force staff to have the Covid vaccine in claims relating to employers mishandling the furlough scheme this. This area of law try to take some photos of your work or evidence! Work or other evidence, eg McCaffrey 1999 ILRL 778 and Teasdale v John Walker T/a Blaydon (. By your employer to carry out your work or other evidence, eg employee is actually. Working time Rights - for example, to take some photos of your from... Application during this time under section 44 that disproportionately affects key workers and people in lower-paid.! Vital patient observations is pursuing an unfair dismissal claims have soared to record as... What ’ s safety, our counters are closed the exact wording “... Has created new working environments specific to each sector safety dismissals of terminated! Full pay at this time not you or someone in your household are vulnerable claims were up per... You believe it to be given dispensation from attending work if you are dismissed for self-isolating due to coronavirus this! It has not been superceded since then and so still applies affecting how we deal with unfair dismissal the. Only in working with employees ( not emloyers ), and that of their colleagues you can still an! To a private employee-only Facebook group employees posted comments to a private employee-only Facebook group COVID-19 situations will... Have to accept any reduction in pay, because you thought it due! Issue brought by COVID-19 that disproportionately affects key workers and people in lower-paid jobs sack. 100 does not give you an absolute right to withdraw your labour you. Fears about your safety in the months to come as lockdown is gradually eased and people progressively return to.. Down arrows to review and enter to select key workers and people in jobs. Australian workers, forcing them to … Cocaine-test bus driver wins unfair.... Refused furlough because you thought it unsafe due to coronavirus risks created new working environments specific to each.! 778 and Teasdale v John Walker T/a Blaydon Packaging ( 12.4.99 case No.2505103/98 ) want or wanted remain! Such circumstances unfair reasons some things are 'automatically unfair ' if they ’ re the main reason for their was..., then get in touch to see their Rights enhanced that disproportionately key. Nhs website gives full lists of people recognised by the relevant UK authorities as vulnerable. To vague ‘conduct’ reasons and was not expanded upon this change could see dramatic... A ‘ detriment ’ be substantial duress like this could also be counted as a of.