COVID and the law
A failure by employers to take reasonable steps to protect their workforce or follow government recommendations could result in them becoming legally liable.
At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our understanding of the virus was more limited than it is today, and the issue of what safety procedures should be adopted by employers was often unclear. However, government agencies soon published guidance for employers to follow to ensure that their employees were kept safe while at work.
While we have found that employers are usually able to demonstrate that an initial risk assessment was carried out, some have been unable to provide any evidence that measures were implemented or enforced thereafter, resulting in COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace.
The long-term effects of COVID-19 are still unknown, but many people have been diagnosed with ‘long COVID’ a diagnosis that includes symptoms such as memory loss, breathing difficulties, mobility issues and sleep apnea. As a direct result of these health problems they have been unable to return to work.
In order to have a potential COVID claim as an employee you must be able to show that you contracted COVID-19 as a direct result of your employer’s lack of care. This is not easy to do as there are many circumstances in which Covid can be contracted, so even if you can show that your employer breached their duty of care you still need to prove the causal connection.