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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48190
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I arrived in work this morning to find an asbestos ceiling

Customer Question

I arrived in work this morning to find an asbestos ceiling had been taken down and the whole basement where the workshop is that I work is covered in white dust. I have come home. The asbestos was not removed by a reputable company. I have worked in this hotel for nine years and wonder now where I stand. They did have proper companies to come in and price the job but on my return from holiday know that it has been done cheaply and not correctly and for my health reasons that is why I have returned home.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Please can you tell me whether your health has been affected as a result of this?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No as soon as I noticed the asbestos I came home - my health has not been affected but i do know the consequences if I stayed there and worked there
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just need to know where I stand with regard to my employment and what I should do now?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you still on line?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi there. Apologies for the slight delay and thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks for your patience. Under health and safety regulations, such as the Health and Safety at Work Act, plus common law, an employer has a legal duty to ensure they provide a safe working environment to their employees and also to those who visit their premises. This includes ensuring that these people are not exposed to any unnecessary risks and to deal with any potential harm to their health, safety and welfare.Therefore, if as a result of the work done you find that the workplace is no longer safe, you should not be required or even expected to come to those premises, until the risks have been removed. In the meantime the employer has a couple of options – they could just keep you off work and continue paying you until the workplace is safe again, or they could make arrangements for work to continue in some other ways, such as from different premises, or remotely like working from home. If they discipline you for not coming into work then that will most likely be unfair and you can challenge it. Similarly, if you find that this matter is mot resolved and the workplace is not made safe and in the meantime they stop paying or there does not appear to be any soon resolution, you can also consider taking this further, for example by claiming constructive dismissal. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the rights you have should they discipline you or if the issues remain unresolved, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. As you have more than 2 years’ service you are protected against unfair dismissal. This is means that to dismiss you the employer must show there was a fair reason for doing so and also follow a fair procedure. Disciplining you or dismissing you for your refusal to come into an unsafe workplace is unlikely to qualify as a fair reason so you can consider taking the matter further. In the event of a dismissal you can consider a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal. If you are left in a position where your employer leaves you with no other option but to leave because of this it could amount to constructive dismissal, which occurs when the following two elements are present:· Serious breach of contract by the employer; and· An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who in turn treats the contract of employment as at an end. The employee must act in response to the breach and must not delay any action too long. A common breach by the employer occurs when it, or its employees, have broken the implied contractual term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario). The affected employee would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring their concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. If the issues are so bad that the employee can't even face raising a grievance and going through the process, or if a grievance has been raised but has been unsuccessful, then they can consider resigning straight away. If resignation appears to be the only option, it must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give an impression that the employer's breach had been accepted. Any resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without providing any notice period. It is advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal. Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of resignation to submit a claim in the employment tribunal. An alternative way out is to approach the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation. In any event, there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them because you cannot be treated detrimentally for suggesting it and it would not be used against you. Just to make a final, yet important point, that constructive dismissal can be a difficult claim to win as the burden of proof is entirely on the employee to show the required elements of a claim were present. Therefore, it should only be used as a last resort. In the first instance I suggest you formally bring the concerns you have about the workplace to the employer’s attention.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for supplying me with some information. I have printed these two replies and will consider my options. I will be in touch further if I require any further information. Kind regards *****
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are most welcome, and please start any future questions with my name so they get referred to me as I will be familiar with your history, thanks