An employee is refusing to return to the workplace due to COVID-19 concerns - what do we need to consider?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 13 April 2021
Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI
Issues covered: Coronavirus; Health and Safety; Remote Working

There are a number of issues you will want to consider when deciding how to deal with this situation, including:

  • what level of national or local restriction applies;
  • the nature of the workplace, and whether any restrictions on opening apply;
  • the nature of the employee’s work, including whether there is scope for the employee to work from home or for alternative arrangements to be made;
  • the nature of the employee’s concerns, including whether the employer has met its health and safety duties;
  • the employee’s specific circumstances, including:
    • whether they are disabled and therefore entitled to the protection afforded by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995;
    • whether they are clinically extremely vulnerable, clinically vulnerable or higher-risk, or pregnant; and
    • whether they live in the same household as someone who falls within one of those categories.

We would recommend that specific legal advice is obtained given the potential risks in this area.


Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 13/04/2021

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI

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