S44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996

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Currently under s44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 an employee can bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal if they are subjected to a detriment because they reasonably believe that being at work puts them (or someone else, such as a household member) in serious, imminent danger.

In the past this has not been a right that has been used very often but it is now being used more frequently by employees who are anxious about travelling to, or being in, work during the coronavirus pandemic and we may see more of this as we move out of current restrictions.

The right has also now been extended to workers under, The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Protection from Detriment in Health and Safety Cases) (Amendment) Order 2021.

This is being done as a result of the decision in R (on the application of the 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.

The extension to workers applies to any detriments taking place on or after 31 May 2021 and we expect it to result in new claims so watch this space for more.