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The Legal Spill on Covid-19

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The Legal Spill on Covid-19

The Legal

Several legal cases have gone to court throughout the pandemic under the new legislation. We’ve got the legal spill on Covid-19 cases involving health and safety for you below.

Cases of unfair dismissal are prominent throughout the lockdowns and are particularly interesting for several reasons. People could not claim the typical unfair dismissal. Typical unfair dismissal requires at least two years’ employment.

The lack of long-standing legislation on Covid-19 related dismissal leads to case-by-case decisions.

The Covid-19 legal cases

Two notable cases involve landmark decisions. The cases have different outcomes and are symbolic of the application of judicial discretion.

Case one

During the first lockdown in March 2020, an employer dismisses an assistant veterinary nurse from her job.

Before the dismissal, and due to underlying health conditions, she requested to wear a mask. This request was met with challenges. The practice manager stated measures of sanitiser, hygienic wipes, and social distancing were unnecessary.

The vet had raised concerns reasonably, evidence confirmed the reason for her dismissal was indeed the action of raising concerns. As a result, the court upheld the unfair dismissal claim.

Case two

By contrast, the next case is believed to be the first tribunal ruling over refusal to wear a facemask.

The worker was delivering to a client’s site. When asked to follow their Covid-19 rules and wear a face covering, the worker refused. Because the action of refusing to follow client rules is against company policy, leaving to his dismissal.

The court upheld the ruling, finding the employer’s drivers handbook clearly stated workers must follow the customer instructions regarding PPE.

Impact

As mentioned, these situations are decided on a case-by-case basis, there is no blanket rule for these. The pandemic introduces new challenges to many industries, including the legal field, where all parties must navigate carefully.

As more cases come to light, it’s essential to look at the evidence available and the information available to us at the various stages throughout the pandemic.

We must take cases seriously to bring relief and compensation to those most affected by unfair dismissal or penalisation throughout Covid-19. In addition, we can try to ensure those affected by fair dismissal understand the severity and consequences of their actions.

For Coivd-19 Updates check out the Government’s Cornavirus page, or visit the Coronavirus Act 2020 Legislation for the legislative updates.

Remember you can still contact us for any of your Health and Safety Covid-19 queries.

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