June 17th, 2020.

Across the country, tens of thousands of employees are being asked to return to work. But many employers are faced with a furloughed employee who refuses. The most obvious parallel is in schools, where unions, local councils, parents and teachers fundamentally disagree on how and when to reopen.

Similar stories are emerging about employers and staff, in sectors large and small, across the country. What rights do employers have in such cases, and how do you protect yourself against a detriment/dismissal claim?

Can a furloughed employee refuse to return to work?
The issue many employers are grappling with is whether a furloughed employee who refuses to return to work because of a stated fear of catching coronavirus can be dismissed.

Under the standard employment contract, the furloughed employee is obliged to follow reasonable instructions. One of those instructions contained in the employment contract will be that employees are to attend work within the hours set out.

The key issue in employment law is what is reasonable, and this depends on the precise facts of the case. As a result of the possible ambiguity, an employer should carefully consider potential consequences before taking any disciplinary action for failure to attend work.

For the full story at smallbusiness.co.uk CLICK HERE.
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