We have all seen the harrowing videos from Italy. The number of death is now increasing in a shocking way.
The Prime Ministers last few words in his speech on the 23 march 2020 were:
I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home protect our NHS and save lives
Despite this there are firms such as Sportsdirect who insist on opening shops whilst claiming that they are an “essential service“.
We are primarily a litigation firm, in order to litigate, we must understand the situation, the opponent and the risks associated with your actions.
Potential legal impact
Every employer who says, “it is not that bad”, “I need my employees to work” or stretching the word “essential” well past any rational use in the English language. They are reducing the efficacy of the shut down – further they are putting their own employees at risk, as well as their employees families and countless others too.
They are prolonging the pain, the pain that they think they are avoiding.
Dismissal related to this may be breaches of health and safety law or (depending on the factual matrix) a whistle blowing complaint. In either case, potentially leading to claims for unfair dismissal.
It is safe to say that any Employment Tribunal would give short shift to any employer who forces employees to come to work – unless absolutely necessary or dismisses them for raising concerns.
If an employer is requiring you to come to work and also known that the only means to do this is by public transport.
If you subsequently became ill with the virus, it may well be that there is the potential of a claim against that firm. The firm has a duty of fair to protect you, and has failed to do that.
Reports to the Health and Safety Executive
Firms are to comply with health and safety legislation.
This would include risk assessment etc.
The failure to comply with this legislation, could result in a Health and Safety complaint and investigation (potentially leading to fines etc) and would also aggravate any negligence claim.
The statutory offence of Corporate Manslaughter was brought in to ensure that there were “effective laws in place to prosecute organisations where they have paid scant regard to the proper management of health and safety with fatal results”
In light of the governmental advice, we consider that employers who require their staff to attend work is clearly running risks associated with this too!
Supporting the Government and this pandemic
If you are dealing with a firm who is not taking active precautions to keep their staff and clients safe – how can you trust them to deal with your affairs.
Take the matter in your hands (having washed them!) and vote with your feet.
We are our brother’s keepers.
Every time you interact closely with another person , every time that you do not rigorously wash your hands
– you are giving Coved-19 a chance and
you are placing your friend, family and countless others at risk.
What has Steadfast Solicitors Ltd done to protect you and ourselves.
Firstly, to protect you, we protect ourselves.
Our staff now work from home. We do not use public transport at all. Our staff have elderly parents, we want to protect them as far as possible. The staff who can’t work from home, don’t work.
We do not rely on our paper files and all information through our case management system is available electronically to our staff.
We only interview people on the telephone.
We ask that all letters are sent by email to this firm.
Advice on the internet on how to protect your self and family from Coved-19.
1) Your welfare
a. How to wash your hands
b. The importance of hand washing and what happens to the virus when washing your hands
c. Cleaning agents needed for your hands and home
d. The critical importance of Social isolation. More information on this can be found here. At least 2 meters from each and every person.
As the BBC pointed out,
Scientists currently believe that each person with coronavirus infects 2.5 people and that takes about five days. Thirty days after that first infection, that means more than 400 people will be infected.
But if we all reduce our exposure by half, after 30 days, that first infection would have led to only 15 infections.
2) How the virus spreads
a. Droplet v Airborne transmission of viruses
b. Primarily droplet transmission, – but reports of airborne transmission too
b. Surfaces and how long the virus remain effective on them (potentially over 2 days depending on surface, humidity and temperature).
Written on the 23 March 2020.