Breaking Covid self-isolation ruled as unfair dismissal

A forklift driver from Edinburgh with 23 years’ service has been awarded nearly £24,000 after an employment tribunal found he was unfairly dismissed for breaking self-isolation rules.

The employee was dismissed for attending work while his son was awaiting the results of a Covid test. The employee said he did not believe his son was ill and thought he wanted to skip a day of work when he complained of a headache and a ‘mock’ cough.

An internal investigation found him to have committed a ‘serious breach’ of health and safety rules and he was dismissed for gross misconduct. Following a test, the results had not been returned by the Monday morning and the employee attended work – despite Scottish Government guidance requiring anyone who lived with someone displaying symptoms to isolate. Subsequently the test was positive when results came back on and during an internal inquiry the employee insisted, he thought his son was ‘at it’ and was faking being ill.

The business found him to be ‘highly irresponsible’ and ‘reckless’. However, the Employment judge, ordered the firm to pay £23, 978.19 in compensation for unfair dismissal. The judge accepted the employee’s claims that he did not believe his son was showing covid symptoms and so believed he did not need to self-isolate.

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