Hospital worker wins case over COVID isolation

A hospital porter whose absence was treated as unauthorised while he awaited the results of his wife’s coronavirus test has won his claim at an employment tribunal. The hospital porter refused to attend work until it was confirmed that his wife had not been infected with Covid-19, as he believed doing so would breach Scottish Government advice. On 22 October 2020, his wife, who also worked at the hospital, was told to take a Covid-19 test as there had been an outbreak of the virus on one of the wards she worked on. Shortly before this, the couple had watched a daily update from first minister Nicola Sturgeon in which people were advised that they should stay at home if they, or anyone they lived with, had been told to take a Covid test.

The hospital porter’s wife took the precautionary test at the hospital before her shift and was told to work as normal while she awaited the result.  The porter was initially told by supervisors that he should stay at home until the test result came back but was then asked to attend work later the same day.  He refused and the absence, on October 23, 2020, was treated as unauthorised and his pay was docked.

He has now won his case at an employment tribunal after claiming that he suffered a detriment for exercising his right not to attend work due to health and safety fears.  He was awarded the sum of £71.34 which is the equivalent of one day’s pay for the loss of earnings.

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