Joseph Lappin spoke to the Telegraph about attitudes to remote working when the restrictions are lifted. Government guidance currently is to work from home if possible, and this guidance is continuing as the lifting of restrictions on 21 June is delayed.

Joseph looks at the employment implications of calling staff back to the office against the current guidance.

The article says:

‘Joseph Lappin, head of employment at law firm Stewarts, warned workers were unlikely to have reasonable grounds to defy instructions to return to the office once restrictions are lifted.

‘He said: “If employers instruct staff to come back, to go back to the office, in ordinary circumstances that would be a lawful and reasonable instruction.”’

The article quotes data from the Office for National Statistics regarding working from home, which reveals that 85% of adults who are currently working from home want to adopt a hybrid approach after the pandemic. In contrast, just 14% of businesses expect more than half their staff to work remotely after restrictions are lifted.

In the meantime, however, the guidance to work from home is still in place. The article continues:

‘Mr Lappin said employers could face legal action if they fire staff who refuse to return to the office while work from home advice is in place.

‘He said: “If the government guidance is that employees should only be working in the office if they cannot work from home, I think employees will have a legitimate basis for contesting an employer’s instruction to return to the office on health and safety grounds.

“We will see employees who believe that they have been unfairly dismissed for failing to follow an instruction to return to the office…  I do think we will see Covid-19 related unfair dismissal claims over the next six to 12 months.”’

A link to the full article can be found here.



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