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We often find that individuals may be reluctant to file a claim following an accident at work in the event that it would result in the loss of their job. Here we will discuss the different employment relationships and the rights each offers.
Ultimately, your employer cannot legally stop you from suing for personal injury.
Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and secure working environment for all staff. They have a duty of care to all staff under the Occupational Health and Safety Management Regulations 1999. If this duty is breached and results in injury or illness, you will likely have grounds to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. .
Your rights as an Employee:
Pursuing a personal injury claim will not affect your employment rights.
An employee with more than 2 years of seniority is protected against unfair dismissal. This means that they can only be terminated for just cause and that a full and fair process must be conducted. If an employee is terminated for filing or contemplating a personal injury claim, it would likely amount to wrongful termination.
If an employee is terminated due to health and safety complaints, it will likely amount to automatic wrongful dismissal. Employees do not need 2 years of service to sue for automatic wrongful termination.
If an employee is treated differently by their employer, resulting in a breakdown of the relationship that is due to them filing a personal injury claim, then this could be a breach of the implied terms of the employment relationship and could result in a constructive dismissal relationship. This is when the employer has committed a fundamental breach of contract that entitles an employee to accept the breach, resign, and consider themselves constructively terminated.
Your rights as a worker:
You only have the right to claim unfair dismissal if you are an employee.
However, a worker has the right to be free from harm for health and safety reasons. This applies to workers in two cases:-
- Leaving work in the face of serious and imminent danger; and
- Take protective measures to avoid serious or imminent danger.
The right not to be fired for health and safety reasons only applies to employees.
Rights of the self-employed:
The self-employed do not have the same rights as employees or workers. However, they have health and safety protection.
We can address any concerns you may have if you have been injured in a workplace accident.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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