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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44871
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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On 21 November my father was found semiconscious, lying down,

Customer Question

On 21 November my father was found semiconscious, lying down, in his workplace. Acc. Witnesses (other employees) this situation lasted a few minutes. When he regained consciousness was taken to the canteen, where it offered some tea and biscuits (!). Despite the fact that he had difficulty breathing and complained of pain in the heart, no one was going to call the ambulance. Called the place manager summed the whole thing with a single question: "So what? You drank something? ". I would add that my father had virtually no drinking alcohol, no one has ever seen him drunk in the workplace.
Father himself called for my mother to come pick him up. It turned out that another manager has exhibited my father before the gate, dressed only in a thin sweater. On the same day we arranged a visit to a GP, he directed my father to the hospital for blood tests and chest X-ray. A week later, last Friday my father was sent again to the hospital, this time he spent there two days, because doctors were concerned that the sudden loss of consciousness, the more that my father never had any health problems.
Doctors suspect that this loss of consciousness may be caused by overwork. His employer is forcing employees to work 12 hours a day, including Saturdays. There was also an incident when my father worked from 7am to 2:30 am. Oddly enough, now, when my father being on sick leave, in his position there are three persons, which in addition does not really make the standard, which my father had to carry alone. When asking for help, in retaliation manager has delivered its responsibilities. I think the importance is the fact that my father in such a system is running on his knees (put the cap on the floor). It is true that agreed to work more than 48 hours a week, but overtime were to be incidental, and the employer, under pressure relief, forcing everyone to work 12 hours a day.
Today, because of this incident will be forced to cancel a family Christmas trip to Morocco, which cost over £3000. We will lose £2,700 because travel agency will keep 90% of oryginal price.
What rights does my father in this situation? Not enough that the most likely to lose their jobs (so runs the employer), it's still his life and health was put at serious risk. We know that the ambulance was not called because in this company had already occurred to various accidents, and that the company is trying to ISO certificate is try not to disclose such cases.
Best Reagrds
Matt
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What does he wish to achieve in this situation? Also how long has he worked there for?

Customer :

He worked there from approx. 3 years, but during that time he has lay off twice. The last contract signed on 4th November 2013. I do not really know what we want to achieve, because I do not know what we can realistically achieve.

Customer :

did you get my previous message?

Ben Jones :

Hi, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. If you are looking for compensation for the holiday then unfortunately the employer will not be liable for that because there won’t be sufficient remoteness in law to be able to claim for that. However, in terms of the employment side and what he can do to challenge this if needed then a good starting point is to look at The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related statutory instruments, which impose a general duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. This includes a duty to undertake risk assessments and manage activities to reduce the incidence of stress at work. In addition, under common law an employer owes a duty of care towards its employees, the breach of which can amount to negligence.

As no standalone claim exists for being exposed to stress, or similar conditions, the affected employee has the following options open to them if they were going to challenge their employer over this:

1. Grievance - this is a formal internal complaint, following which the employer is obliged to investigate the issues and deal with them in an appropriate manner. It should always be the first step in trying to bring the problem to the employer's attention and to try and reach a resolution.

2. Constructive dismissal - this occurs where the employee resigns because they feel they were left with no other option in the circumstances. Further considerations include:



  • It must be shown that the employer had acted in breach of the implied terms to provide a safe system of work or through their actions (or inactions) had broken the mutual trust and confidence

  • The breach relied on must be sufficiently serious to justify instant resignation

  • This claim is only available to those with at least 2 years' continuous service with their employer and must be made within 3 months of resigning.


3. Personal Injury - this is a claim for negligence against the employer. Further considerations include:



  • Some recognised illness must have been suffered. This could include clinical depression, specific trauma stress, a physical injury (e.g. stroke), etc.

  • The illness must have been caused directly by the employer's negligence, such as failing to appropriately deal with managing stress in the workplace

  • The illness must have been reasonably foreseeable - for example if the employee experienced one breakdown, that would have indicated to the employer that there is a problem and that further issues could arise if things were not dealt with appropriately.

  • The time limit to claim is 3 years from the time the injury was suffered.


In the first instance, I would advise going down the grievance route first and only consider pursuing legal action as a last resort if it is evident that the matter cannot be resolved in any other way.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer :

We've sent e-mail with complaint to company, but we have no response up to date, which was 9 days ago. Also if the UK employment law specifies the maximum weekly working time?

Ben Jones :

it is 48 hours a week, calculated over a 17-week reference period (so in any 17 week rolling period the average cannot be more than 48 hours). However, if the employee has opted out of this limit they can be asked to work for longer than that

Customer :

OK, my father has sign that he agreed to working more than 48 hours. However if the employer can press employees to work 12 hours per day, six days a week?

Customer :

there is any limit after you sign opt out? Or you can working, for eg. 20 hours per day until you serve a notice to employer?

Ben Jones :

employees still have the right to an 11-hour daily rest between shifts (so 11 h from the end of work to the start of work next day) as well as 24h uninterrupted rest every week, or it could instead be given as 48h every two weeks. But that is it really, they can ask them to work any hours, subject to the health and safety rules aboive, until the employee decides to opt out

Ben Jones :

Can you please clarify the reason for the Poor service raring - I gave you a detailed answer and answered all follow up questions for you?

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