Coronavirus return to work u-turn causes mental health and redundancy concerns - Niki Southern quoted in HR Magazine

24 September 2020

Niki Southern, Partner in our Employment Law team, was quoted in HR Magazine on Wednesday 23 September 2020. Niki was commenting on the updated government guidance urging workers to once again work from home where possible. 

Niki first comments on the issues for employers who cannot transition to home working, and highlights a risk of increased redundancies in these sectors:

Whilst City firms may be able to adapt to working from home on a more permanent basis, this, combined with other recently announced restrictions and the end of the furlough scheme, will inevitably lead to job cuts in sectors like travel and hospitality in particular."

Employers across the board need to be very careful in decision making around return to the workplace as well as redundancies to avoid potential claims, including discrimination.”

Niki then discusses the issues for employers who are trying to bring employees back into the workplace. She suggests that employees who have serious concerns about their health and safety will now have a stronger case for refusing to return, and may have legitimate claims for unfair dismissal should they lose their jobs for refusing to return:

Dismissing employees who refuse to return to work citing such concerns would potentially be unfair, leading to uncapped compensation.”


Further Information

If you would like any further information or advice about this, please contact Niki or any member of our employment law team.


About the Author

Niki often acts in complex cases requiring her to navigate overlapping issues such as equal pay, discrimination, harassment, sickness absence, performance and misconduct.

She has particular experience of representing employers and employees in the higher education, retail, media, professional and financial sectors. 



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