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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6472
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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I am working as an agency worker in the distribution centre

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Dear Madame/SirI am working as an agency worker in the distribution centre of very big food company for a few years now, we recently had big hygiene issue at work in our canteen which is disgrace, in the coffee vending machine we had flies nest, there is an outside company who is doing maintenance and refilling all the supplies (coffee powder, milk etc) but on our site other company is responsible for cleaners and technicians and they have access to this machine at all time(maybe its the same, i do not know this at this moment), the problem with the flies and that nest discovery was reported but for about one week or longer flies were still there as it was not cleaned properly and on the 8th November on my break time I had a coffee with fly and its eggs in my coffee and after that I was disgusted, I felt sick and left home, I reported that to H&S manager, the problem was not solved in the right way that day, machine was still turned on and people were using it after me and also because the same manager was having a laugh at me twice after that and trying to make a fun of this fact, I decided to sue the company but I need to know whether the company(my agency's client) is responsible for breach on health and safety rules in their canteen where people having break and eating food and they are the ones I have to take legal actions against, even if the outside company is maintaining that machine or they are not and I have to take legal actions against the maintaining company? Before getting a solicitor to prepare this case or getting help from unions with legal representation do I have to raise grievance first through my agency or not? Thank you in advance for your advice and help.Regards

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Have you suffered a financial loss or any injury as a result of the lack of hygiene?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi Jenny, yes, I had to go home sick so lost earnings for that shift and I puked that day a few times and obviously I felt mentally bad after that, but isn’t the fact of the fly and its eggs in my coffee good enough for a breach on health and safety and my personal health knowing the possibility of me being seriously ill if i wouldn’t puke after that, because of the possible diseases a fly could spread?

How much money have you lost as a result of it?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
around £200, don’t want to share specific details here, but can you please answer my questions?

It is important I understand the situation in order to answer, the value of loss is very relevant to your legal position because in UK law it is only possible to sue for damages for breach of health and safety if a loss or actual injury is resultant. It is up to the Health and Safety Executive to take action against employer's in other circumstances which might involve requirement to take remedial action or fining for breaches.

My advice is that you raise a grievance with the agency and state clearly that it is a health and safety complaint and that you are concerned about your health if it is not remedied immediately and that you are seeking payment for your lost earnings resulting from the breach. They must assist with your complaint. Unfortunately as you are an agency worker you do not have the same right to resign and claim constructive dismissal as if you were an employee but if the matter is not resolved you could potentially sue the agency (who would recover from their client) for lost future earnings but you would have to show that there is actual potential damage to your health. The difficulty might lie in the fact that you are not forced to drink drinks from the machine and there is no requirement of employer's to provide such facilities.

If you have any further questions please do ask. I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.

Hello is there anything further you would like to know?

Jenny and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
no, I think that is all I needed, thank you for your help Jenny, have a nice dayRegards

Thanks and all the best with it.