I Think My Employee is taking Advantage of Covid-19


5 May 2021

By Josh Fresle

Exploring what can be done if you think your employee is lying about Covid-19 Exposure and/or Symptoms

With the ever changing rules around Covid-19, it can be difficult for employers to navigate what should be done if an employee says they are required to self-isolate due to Covid-19 exposure.

There are many that are not able to work remotely. So what if you have reason to believe your employee is lying about having to self-isolate?

Firstly, Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result should stay at home and self-isolate immediately. They could pass the infection on to others, even if they don’t have symptoms. Further, it is irrelevant whether an employee has received one or more doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

You can instruct the employee to take a Covid-19 test and provide a copy of the results to you. The employee should not return to work whilst waiting to take a test. If the test result is positive then the employee has can validly self-isolate for the full required period.

If test result is negative, but the employee still claims to have symptoms, they can stop isolating and return to work as long as they are well; nobody else in their household has tested positive for Covid-19; they haven't been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

It is important to note that the law places an obligation on employees to inform their employer if they have tested positive and to self-isolate. Similarly, employers should not force employees who have been instructed to self-isolate to leave isolation. Failure to follow these obligations, no matter how strong your inkling may be, could result in large fines

Just because the situation involves Covid-19 does not mean as an employer there is nothing you can do. If you do hear from colleagues or see on social media that your employee is breaching the regulations, and has not been self-isolating when they have informed you that they are, you are able investigate and possibly initiate disciplinary proceedings.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

For further information, please get in touch with our employment discrimination solicitors in Chelmsford, or fill in our online enquiry form for a quick response.