|From 31 May 2021 new regulations mean that ‘workers’ gain the right not to be subjected to a detriment for raising health & safety concerns. |
The law has for some time protected employees in this context – permitting them to bring a claim in a tribunal if they are subjected to a detriment because they took steps to protect themselves or others in certain health & safety situations (including in certain cases where they reasonably believed that being at work would place them (or someone else, such as a household member) in serious, imminent danger. This right, contained within s44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, has been used frequently by employees concerned about being in work during the pandemic.
New regulations extend the protection so that it covers ‘workers’, rather than just ‘employees’. This is a result of the High Court’s decision in IGWU v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, where it was held that confining such protection to employees was a breach of the EU Health & Safety Framework Directive. This extension is one we are likely to see used a lot in forthcoming months as more people are required to come back to work and have concerns around safety linked to COVID-19.
See here for the legislation: