BLM's Julian Cox discusses workplace safety with HR Magazine
BLM's head of employment law, London, partner Julian Cox discusses workplace safety with HR Magazine. In an article entitled 'Employees will need preventative measures to return to work' Julian discusses the government's new 'COVID-secure' measures and contends that:
“According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), all workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled, which obviously could be more difficult to manage as we emerge out of lock-down.
“Moving forward, government guidance is clear that workplaces need to be ‘COVID-19 secure’ before reopening for those employees who can’t work from home.
"In addition, the prime minister has encouraged workers to report any breaches to the local authority and the HSE, which would afford employees whistle-blowing protection.
“This is key, and caution is advised at this early stage if considering dismissals for employees who refuse to return over concerns that the business is not COVID-19 secure, or related to whistle-blowing.
“These are categorised by employment statute as being automatically unfair, meaning an employee can bring unfair dismissal claims regardless of length of service. It’s somewhat of a bear trap for the unwary employer.”