Rodgers v Leeds Laser Cutting Limited UKET 1803829/2020
for the reserved judgment click here
The Claimant brought a claim for automatic unfair dismissal. Not having served the requisite 2 years’ continuous service required for such a claim in GB the Claimant relied on s100(1) (d) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
The tribunal found that despite his concern about working conditions he had voluntarily been in close proximity with others in a car (wearing a mask) and had undertaken work in a pub during the pandemic. The tribunal concluded that the Claimant’s decision to stay off work was not directly linked to his working conditions, and this his concerns about the virus were general ones, which were not directly attributable to the workplace. The tribunal found that in his oral evidence the Claimant chose to self isolate “until the virus calms down”
The tribunal accepted that the Claimant had genuine concerns about COVID and that such concerns were understandable. However such concerns could not be reconciled with his activities of contact with others during isolation.
The tribunal found that given the large workplace with only a handful of employees, and the measures the company had imposed the circumstances did not represent serious and imminent danger. The Claimant’s fears, therefore, were not objectively reasonable. It also held that the Claimant could have reasonably averted the dangers by abiding by the guidance at all times and raising any particular tasks of concern with his employer.
Although the tribunal found that COVID-19 could potentially amount to circumstances of serious and imminent danger in principle, it did not consider that this was the case in this instance.
The Claimant had therefore not been reasonable in staying away from work and had failed to communicate properly with his employer.
The Claimant’s claim was dismissed.