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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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My employer refused to provide me with the safe and healthy

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My employer refused to provide me with the safe and healthy environment from retaliations and victimisation and refused to provide me with minor adjustment and as the result I am off seek suffering from strass and anxiety due to on-going retaliation. When I told my employer that under the section 44 employment act 1996 as a worker I have right to stay at home on the full pay due to the unsafe environment which endangered my health. They refused to pay me my wages saying there is no danger to my health. Is employer breaching the laws?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Please can you provide some more information on why you deem the environment in which you work to be unsafe?

Please can you also tell me how long you have worked there for? Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
For more than one year.

Thank you. I will also need to know why you feel the environment in which you work is unsafe?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The environment is unsafe as the management of 7 people have retaliated against me fabricating false events accusing me of being nasty and horrible when I wasn't just to get disciplinarily action against me. They made my working environment too stressful and unbearable. I'm off sick for a long time due to stress at work

Thanks for your patience. First of all it is untrue that section 44 allows you to remain on full pay whilst you are off work even if the reason for this is the unsafe working environment. If you have been signed off sick, whatever the reasons for that, you are only going to be entitled to the sick pay your contract entitles you to. If that is full pay then you will get full pay but if it is less than that, then it would be whatever entitlement you get. So it does not mean you are guaranteed full pay even if it was the employer’s failure to provide a safe working environment. You are only guaranteed to get full pay if you are suspended or if your contract allows you to receive full pay whilst off sick.

In terms of your rights, 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 any risks. In addition, under common law an employer owes a duty of care towards its employees, the breach of which can amount to negligence.

The issue is what you are able to do about this – there are a few options and these will depend on a number of factors, which I can go over with you if needed.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have on challenging this further, 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 is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. As no standalone claim exists for being exposed to unhealthy working environment, 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 health risks 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.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As a whistle blower what other challenge do I have . I have been off sick for 6 weeks due to being retaliated by the wrongdoers. The HR and management should have disciplined these people for breaching the rules and retaliation against me instead they their supported and retaliated against me especially the HR who is deliberately making serious accusation against me and told me that people (he wrongdoers) raised complaint about me and I had to go to disciplinary meeting and after that they will terminate my contract. I had no one to turn to and end up suffering from stress and anxiety. If I go back they will retaliate again against me and possible get rid of me.

you would have a potential claim for detrimental treatment due to making a protected disclosure but I am pretty sure I have discussed how to go about this with you previously?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm already taking them to court but I need to stay off sick as long as possible as if I go back to work they will do something to incriminate me to destroy my case. By staying at home they are now telling me they will no longer pay me salary. So I'm not sure what to do now as I need money to pay my bills

and what was your entitlement to sick pay under contract?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had 26 weeks sick pay entitlement which will end next week.

ok I am afraid you cannot claim to be paid more than what your contractual sick pay entitlement is, even i the reason for going off sick is as a result of the employer's actions, so if you are going to lose your sick pay entitlement you will have to consider pursuing this via other means such as constructive dismissal or whistleblowing claim