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Employers must avoid subjecting workers (as well as employees) to a detriment if they take steps to protect themselves from work risks, based on a reasonable belief their health and safety is at risk, under new employment laws in force from 31 May 2021.

Employees have long been protected against detriment from their employer if they take certain steps to protect themselves against what they reasonably believe to be risks to their health and safety at work – for example, if they:

  • Leave, propose to leave, or refuse to come back to work because they reasonably believe being there would put them in serious and imminent danger.
  • Take (or propose to take) steps to protect themselves (or anyone else) from what they reasonably believe to be a serious and imminent danger.

Detriments could include disciplinary action or not being paid, for example.

Gareth Dando, Partner in Ramsdens Employment team commented:

“From 31 May 2021 this protection is extended to workers, and not just employees. This is a particular issue for employers currently, as employees – and now workers – are increasingly considering whether they are as protected as they should be from COVID-19 while at work and are taking steps to protect themselves if they do not believe they are. Employers should review their workplace health and safety policies and procedures, to take account of the new protections against detriments for workers in addition to employees.”

If you would like to discuss anything mentioned in this article then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our experienced Employment team on or call us on 01484 821 500