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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48204
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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We are a very small business, 2 partners and two employees.

Resolved Question:

We are a very small business, 2 partners and two employees. We provide professional services and the employees are receptionists. We work from 11:30 am till 10:30 pm.

Recently our evening receptionist was raped by two men on her way home.

We cannot in good conscience allow her to continue working the evening shift.

Without an evening receptionist, we cannot run the business.

Our margins are too tight to allow for extended paid leave of absence and the employment of a temporary replacement.

Can you let me know what options we have to try to treat her as well as we can while at the same time ensuring the survival of our business?

Thank you.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. what currant health and safety procedures have in you in place ie lone working
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well there is no lone working there is always a partner at the premises. This incident happened after work on her way home.


 


The premises have controlled access and cctv monitoring of the reception area.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Just a further note: We are singing teachers and music studios. The employee in question loves her job and loves working here as she is a musician and the job allows her free studio time and many other perks. She often in the past remained after work until midnight to practise and use the recording facilities.


 


We have tried (repeatedly) to get her to work the day-shift but she does dog-walking in the day and can only do evenings.


 


 

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Many thanks for your patience. Whilst this is an unfortunate incident, you as employer are unlikely to bear much, if any, responsibility for this and minimising the risks of such things could be somewhat out of your hands.

The law requires you to ensure the health and safety of your employees, to conduct a risk assessment if there is an obvious risk to employees and to try and minimise these as much as possible.

The specific incident here happened outside of work and had nothing to do with the actual work, so minimising the risks of it occurring again could not be easy. Whilst rape is not very common, in a sense that it would only happen to a very small proportion of the general public, it is of course difficult to predict and could happen any time and any place. The risks are increased at night but unless the area where she goes through is notorious for such crimes, then you just cannot predict if it could occur again or what you may do to minimise that risk.

If the business requires someone working in the evenings then you can continue requiring the employee to do so but try and minimise the risk, for example by subsidising transport, like taxis, although that could be difficult financially, or providing other options for transport. But apart from that there is not much that can be done – you have to consider the risk assessment and what you can do to reduce the risks but the nature of the risks here can make it rather difficult to change anything or to predict the risk of a reoccurrence so you could leave things as they are, even if your conscience does not allow it, but you have to consider the business needs as well and in the absence of specific risks you can deal with, those would take precedence.

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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