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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50148
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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For over a year the outside of my office window and courtyard

Customer Question

For over a year the outside of my office window and courtyard has been covered in pigeon droppings. The smell in summer has been appalling and when it then rained on the droppings they splattered onto the window pane and we could not open or close thee window without getting it on our hands etc. I developed a breathing problem since the pigeons started nesting in the courtyard, but on investigation they found nothing wrong with my heart or lungs and said it was just shallow breathing.. The problem has been highlighted upward to management and some attempts were made to stop the birds nesting, but the Trust has not ensured that Estates did as they promised and come and wash down the area on a fortnightly basis. I did not realise that the guano coud be a health hazard until recently. I suffer from the problem when I have been in the office during the week but it eases off at week-ends and on holidays. I am due to retire in April but am now worried that I may have developed a serious health condition which will limit my enjoyment in retirement. What should I do, do they have a case to answer?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

What do you actually wish to achieve in this situation?

JACUSTOMER-um4i8bql- :

To ensure I am covered in case I get seriously ill, and have enough to cover any extra health issues that might arise. I do not want to find I suffer financial depriation in the future because of this situation. I intend to lodge a formal complaint next week.

Ben Jones :

The employer would have had a duty under health and safety laws to ensure your health and wellbeing in the workplace so if there were issues such as this one that potentially exposed you to a health risk, failure to deal with it could place them in breach of the law.

At this stage, if you have not actually been diagnosed with a condition that has been suffered as a result of this, you cannot make a claim against them, at least not for personal injury. To do this you need to have actually suffered an injury, not just have been exposed to something that may cause an injury in the future. So it means that if you are diagnosed with a condition in the future and you suffered this as a result of the employer's negligence, in this case their failure to deal with this obvious hazard, you can make a personal injury claim against them to seek compensation for the injuries you suffered.

The law is not punitive, it is not there to punish them now and compensate you for this if no actual injuries have been suffered, so you need to have been diagnosed with something before you can actually claim.

In terms of other claims you can make, the only other possibility is a claim for constructive dismissal where you are forced to resign due to unacceptable behaviour by the employer. However, such a claim would only compensate you for future loss of earnings so if you were retiring anyway and were not planning on working any more, you would not have suffered losses and as such a claim for constructive dismissal would be pointless.

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your query or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?