- Automotive legal firm Lawgistics has seen a rise in the number of enquiries from employers with staff not wanting to return to work for their own safety
Furloughed workers refusing to come back due to safety reasons could face disciplinary action.
Automotive legal firm Lawgistics says it has dealt with a number of enquiries from car dealers in recent weeks with workers on furlough not wanting to return to showrooms because of anxiety.
However, if an employee refusing to return to work doesn’t have an anxiety disorder or isn’t classed as ‘extremely vulnerable’, they could face disciplinary measures.
Kiril Muskovchuk, a legal adviser at Lawgistics, said that if a dealer has carried out the correct assessments ‘there can be little argument’ for an employee to say they can’t return to work.
He said: ‘If the business has carried out a risk assessment and follows the suggested guidance then there can be little argument to say that the employee’s health is unduly at risk.
‘It is only a very small group of extremely vulnerable people who are advised to stay home and shield. Even members of households with those isolating may come to work.’
With car dealers being one of the first ‘non-essential’ retail outlets allowed to open on Monday (June 1), many businesses in the industry will be taking workers off furlough, if they haven’t already. However, some reluctance is expected.
Moskovchuk added: ‘The increased anxiety is not a good reason to refuse to return to work and may have to be dealt as a disciplinary issue.’
He recommended that workers with such anxiety are actively involved in the risk assessments for reopening showrooms and businesses once again – something that should be done regardless to ensure the safety of both staff and customers.
Companies should also negotiate with workers to allay any fears about returning back to work, and let them know that the official guidance is being followed.
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