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Sacking of employee who raised safety concerns during lockdown was unlawful, Tribunal finds

A great result for Wards’ Employment Team, on behalf of a client who was sacked after raising safety concerns about working during lockdown.  The Tribunal concluded that our client’s dismissal was unlawful.

What happened?

Wards represented Mr Preen, who was dismissed after raising concerns about the safety of attending work following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a national lockdown on 23 March 2020.

Mr Preen was an Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Engineer who had been assigned routine, maintenance jobs during the week of 23 March 2020. Following the announcement that everyone should stay at home, unless it was absolutely necessary to go to work, he addressed this with his employer.

In raising such concerns, Mr Preen was protected in law against detrimental treatment and dismissal. This is because he had raised circumstances connected with his work which he reasonably believed were harmful or potentially harmful his health or safety, or the health or safety of others.

The outcome

The Tribunal concluded that employees must be able to raise genuine and reasonably held concerns about health and safety with their employer, without the fear of being dismissed as a result. They concluded that Mr Preen’s dismissal was unlawful.

Commenting, Wards’ Employment Team said: “Cases like this are gaining more attention.  This is an example to employers not to dismiss genuine concerns about health or safety more widely, in particular in the context of Covid,”

You can read more about the Tribunal decision here.

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