Scottish firefighters forced to use vacation time to protect themselves from virus win discrimination case

Scottish firefighters have been forced to use vacation and labor time when protecting themselves from the coronavirus.

A shock case in an employment tribunal found that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) had inflicted “unfavorable treatment” on life-saving heroes when they forced disabled firefighters to take their protection time on their own. annual vacation.

The firefighters union also argued that some female firefighters faced similar discrimination, having been forced to use annual leave and WORK for additional caregiving responsibilities during the pandemic.

However, the judgment added that the sex discrimination case was “unfounded” and dismissed it.



Concerns: Denise Christie of the Fire Brigade Union Scotland

In addition, while the court ruled that the case of the 15 firefighters was proven, it was decided not to award any kind of compensation to the injured workers.

A hearing for the case was held in Glasgow from July 12-16 with deliberations July 22-23 and August 11.

They discovered that some of the firefighters had been forced to use annual leave and labor time when they did not want to because of the shielding during the pandemic.

Fire union bosses last night said the case could have ramifications across the UK in what is believed to be the first where an employer has discriminated because of employees following guidelines from the UK. government health related to Covid.

Denise Christie, Regional Secretary of the Fire Brigade Union in Scotland, said: “In principle, we are delighted with this result. This is another example of a union fighting and winning for its members.

“The Covid is like any other major burden on society: a disproportionate share often ends up being imposed on people already discriminated against, such as women or people with disabilities.

But she added that the union was disappointed that there was no compensation for members using their vacation.

She added: “However, we cannot ignore the fact that despite this ruling, the court has seen fit not to impose any sanctions on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

“The Tribunal also did not see fit to order the Fire and Rescue Service to reinstate vacation leave wrongly taken from our members.

“This is clearly unfair and we will challenge it with all the legal tools at our disposal.”

The case had initially been the subject of a collective complaints procedure, where it was not upheld, and there was no appeal relating to the procedure.

The judgment reads as follows: “The claim concerning the claimants who made a claim under section 15 of the Equality Act 2010 is upheld and the Tribunal declares that there has been unfavorable treatment ( withdrawal of choice and flexibility with regard to WORK and accumulated leave) because of something resulting from a disability which was not objectively justified.

“Based on the information available to the Tribunal, we did not consider it fair or equitable to award any compensation to any of the claimants.

“The complaint of indirect sex discrimination is unfounded and is dismissed.”

SFRS Director of People and Organizational Development Liz Barnes said, “We are currently noting and reviewing the Tribunal’s decision.

“The Covid-19 pandemic was an unprecedented situation and presented unique challenges to SFRS as an emergency responder.

“We have worked and continue to work, wherever possible, to support our staff and strike the appropriate balance with our duty to maintain the level of service required to keep people safe in Scotland. “

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