Are you continuing to protect vulnerable employees?

In the case of Prosser v Community Gateway Association Limited, Ms Prosser (who was on a zero hours contract) confirmed that she was pregnant to her employer just after the initial COVID lockdown.

Whilst Ms Prosser wanted to continue working during her pregnancy, her employer did not offer her shifts as a result of following the Government’s Public Health advice.

She did return to work, following a risk assessment, after approximately 5 months.

She claimed that her loss of pay during this period amounted to pregnancy-related discrimination.

However, the Tribunal was of the view that being sent home due to being a vulnerable person was not unfavourable treatment.

In this particular case, the Tribunal noted that the employer was taking Government Guidance into account and had consulted with Ms Prosser about its intentions.

The case was not upheld given the employer’s actions and reasons for those actions.

Employers should:

  • Discuss the risks with vulnerable employees
  • Have a risk assessment in place and keep it updated
  • Look for alternatives such as working from home

Whilst an employer could suspend an employees duties – this should be on full pay and would only be considered as a very last resort when all other potential options had been considered and ruled out.

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