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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50147
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My husbands head office in Duabi was told to evacuate its

Customer Question

My husbands head office in Duabi was told to evacuate it's staff working in Baijai oil refinery in Iraq. They didn't do this even though other companies working on site were evacuating their staff. Essentially abandoning my husband and his co workers to their own fate. After 24 hours with insurgents approaching an evac team was sent out with just minutes to spare to pick up the stranded men, who had spent a night listening to gunfire and bombs going off. They had to scramble through tikrit while the battle to over run it was going on. Seeing terrible things burnt bodies etc. scared out of their minds. Taken to Baghdad where they are still waiting after 6 days to be flown back to the UK. There has been no apology from any boss but councilling has been offered. Can these men sue and will the company fire them if they do ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What specifically would you like to sue for? How long has he worked there for?

JACUSTOMER-zv6kp42z- : He has been project manager for nearly 2 years for this particular company. Suing because the powers that be knowingly put 6 men's lives at risk. They had been advised to evacuate the workers at 7.30am last Tuesday morning but decided they needed more information with regards to the situation in Iraq. Then they came back with head office in Dubai didn't know what to do. Then the other excuse was they didn't have enough vehicles to get the guys evacuated. They had 3 windows of opportunity to get these guys safely to Baghdad all were missed. By the time the go ahead was given and the evacuation team were employed to rescue the workers. It was a race against time with literally minutes to spare.
Ben Jones :

Do you know his exact start date as that would be relevant to his rights? Also is he an employee or a contractor?

JACUSTOMER-zv6kp42z- : I don't have an exact start date as he is stuck in Baghdad. He is an employee. We are not suing for the sake of just suing. We know life happens and thinks kick off. But this whole situation could have been avoided if they had been evacuated when head office had been advised instead of running round like headless chickens. Especially as all the other workforce employed by different companies were evacuated as soon as they were advised to do so. The company know they are in the wrong. The guys were given a virtual hug via Skype yesterday by a councillor. All I want to know is do we have a case before I go make an appointment to see our own lawyer.
Ben Jones :

Hi, whilst I understand that you are not just suing for the sake of it., there are limited grounds on what you may actually sue. You cannot just sue because you believe he was placed in danger – to be able to claim anything you must show he has either suffered an injury or losses. If none of these have been incurred, then it is not possible to sue for being placed in a dangerous position or for ‘what could have happened’. Actual losses or injuries must have been incurred and assuming no losses have been suffered, the only thing I can see here is a potential psychological injury but to qualify it would need to be quite serious, for example post-traumatic stress disorder, which needs to be formally diagnosed and the level of compensation would depend on the seriousness of such injury. So to be able to pursue this he would need to find out what level of injury, if any, has been suffered before he can claim and as such it would not be an immediately apparent matter.

As to the employer dismissing him if he claims, it would depend on a couple of factors:

  • First of all, if he has less than 2 years’ continuous service with the employer he is not protected against unfair dismissal which means that subject to a limited number of exceptions he can be dismissed for any reason.
  • However, one of the exceptions is if he has made a protected disclosure to the employer and he is dismissed as a result. This would basically be ‘whistleblowing’, so for example if he formally brings his concerns about this situation to the employer’s attention and argues that it is a serious health and safety breach. This should hopefully qualify this as a protected disclosure and as such he should not be treated detrimentally for raising it or pursuing it further.

Hope this clarifies your position?

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Hello Karen, could you please let me know if I have answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this – this is needed so I can either keep the question open or close it if no further advice is required? Thank you