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Covid-19 worker reinstated after B&Q dismissal

A worker from B&Q who was dismissed because she failed to follow absence procedures has been reinstated in her position after the union Updaw took action against the company.

The lady, who worked at an undisclosed location in the UK, told how she had been battling with Covid-19 for some months. After she had recovered she was disciplined and then dismissed by the DIY retailer because she had failed to follow the company absence procedures.

B&Q claimed that the woman had not telephoned before her shifts to inform managers that she would be absent. The claimant however argued that she had in fact called on two different occasions, but no one had answered her calls.

After her condition had deteriorated she found that she was struggling to breathe and unable to call.

The woman managed to establish contact with her bosses to tell them about her condition. B&Q requested that she attend a stage one disciplinary meeting even though she was still signed off ill with a valid doctor’s note.

The claimant found herself unable to attend the stage one meeting because she was too ill, so it then escalated to a stage two disciplinary meeting.

After the stage two meeting was requested, the woman contacted Updaw to help her draft a letter of appeal.

Updaw’s letter stated that B&Q had acted unfairly by disciplining a person who was ill. They had escalated the situation when she was unable to attend and had been signed off sick.

Generally, an employee can only claim unfair dismissal against their employer if they have worked with the company for more than two years. Because the woman had been with B&Q for less than two years, an employment tribunal was not an option for her.

After being contacted by Updaw, B&Q offered to hold an appeal meeting, which was attended by the woman and a representative from Updaw.

After the appeal meeting B&Q reinstated the woman with her pay backdated to the date of her initial dismissal.

A spokesperson for B&Q confirmed that they had recently reinstated the woman to her position following an internal appeal meeting.

The process was followed in accordance with the policies of B&Q and where deemed necessary adjustments had been made.

Earlier in September a B&Q store in Dundee closed for a day after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.

B&Q in Kings Cross Road closed, and a sign was placed on the door informing customers that due to ‘an incident’ the store would be closed for deep cleaning and would open the following day.

A spokesperson confirmed that the store was closing as a precautionary measure and that the actions went ‘beyond government advice.’

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