Solicitor James McNally provides a timely update on Covid-19 compensation claims.
Whether an employer can be held legally responsible if an employee contracts Covid-19 is something I have written about before.
When I wrote that piece it was simply my initial thoughts on the legal situation as the country went into lockdown. As a lawyer specialising in personal injury claims with many years’ experience dealing with injuries in the workplace (including incidents where PPE would have prevented injury) I immediately realised there were legal issues that employers would need to address if we were to have “business as usual”.
Keeping a workplace reasonably safe for staff isn’t always easy; but it isn’t impossible, even in these difficult times In the same way that an employer of, for example, someone working at height has to consider the risks their employees face and how they can limit those risks, an employer needs to consider the problems that coronavirus presents to its workforce and the measures that can be taken to protect them.
Regrettably, not all employers have taken their duties seriously and workers have unnecessarily contracted the virus as a result. We have been contacted by a number of employees who feel they have been completely let down by their employers during the crisis and relatively simple measures to keep them safe from Covid-19 have not been taken.
We are, for instance, representing a care worker who has been diagnosed positive with Covid-19. Her daughter has also tested positive. Other family members within the same household have tested negative, so there seems little doubt that she has brought the virus into the home. Her employers not only failed to provide PPE but implemented absolutely no changes of procedure at all. It seems they also withheld details of other positive Covid-19 cases among the care staff as well as the Covid-19 related deaths of residents. To make matters worse when someone donated face masks to the care home the staff were banned from wearing them in case they caused the residents to worry.
While Covid-19 compensation claims are at the very early stages, this is not the only case we are dealing with or the only story we have heard of staff being seriously let down by their employers.
If you or a family member have contracted Covid-19 as a result of work or would like to know more about making a Covid compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact our freep helpline on 0333 888 0404 or send an email with brief details to us at [email protected]