I was surprised to read that businesses could face an increased litigation risk as a result of swine flu (‘Swine flu pandemic raises workplace litigation risk‘, Personneltoday.com, 28 July). It seems unlikely that, if such claims did materialise, the employees concerned would have a leg to stand on.
There is no history of non work-related illnesses falling under the health and safety bracket and employers have never previously been held responsible for non-industrial illnesses, such as common flu. Furthermore, with a disease as apparently contagious as swine flu, how could it be proven that the employee even caught it in a workplace setting?
Despite the furore that currently exists around swine flu, there is a need for employers to act practically and sensibly. There is no need to start sending people home just because they were in a lift with someone who sneezed.
Richard Smith, head of litigation, Croner