Covid: Armored firefighters lose offer of compensation after being forced to take vacation

Firefighters who were forced to use public holidays and compensatory time off while protecting themselves due to Covid lost their compensation offer – despite winning their case.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) was found to have discriminated against staff with health problems, which was completely at odds with government advice.

A first labor court ruled that the service had violated equality legislation, but did not award any compensation to the firefighters involved.

The Firefighters Union (FBU), which brought the lawsuit on behalf of the members, then asked for a review of the compensation decision – claiming it was “bizarre” – but it was also rejected.

The court ruled that it could not award compensation because no evidence had been presented on the relief sought by the employees.

In a written ruling on the case, labor judge David Hoey said: “It was up to the plaintiffs to prove their loss, and they failed to do so.”

He added: “In all the circumstances, it is not necessary in the interests of justice to reconsider the judgment that was rendered in this case… the request to reconsider our decision is dismissed.

The court heard that around 150 SFRS employees who could not perform their duties from home were asked to protect themselves during the lockdown.

A judgment in the case reads: “All staff who had to protect those who could not work from home were to use their accumulated annual leave and WORK before being paid on special leave to ensure that their time spent at home. home (not work) was paid. ”

A group of eight employees lodged complaints of discrimination on the basis of disability, with Justice Hoey ruling that there was “unfavorable treatment (removal of choice and flexibility in WORK and accumulated leave) because of of something resulting from a disability .

However, the judge added that there was an “absence of evidence” showing what had been lost by the plaintiffs and that it was therefore not “fair or equitable” to award any compensation.

Another group that was forced to use annual leave and WORK to cover free time for family responsibilities attempted to claim that this was discrimination on the basis of sex, but this was rejected by the tribunal.

The Scottish Government’s view was that protectors should not lose “future rights like vacation and time accumulated”.

At the time of the initial ruling in the case, Jillian Merchant of Thompsons Solicitors, who represented the claimants, said the case was one of the first Covid-19 discrimination complaints to come to court.

She said: “Workers with disabilities should not be punished for following Scottish government guidelines.”

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