Q&A - Can employers sack me if I put in a personal injury claim against them?

Q: On my first day in a new job my employers had no spare goggles for me to wear whilst handling acidic chemicals, or gave me chemical handling training. My manager just told me to be very careful. Unfortunately the chemical sprayed into my face and I got badly burnt. I have permanent scarring on my face and am now blind in one eye. Can my employers sack me if I make a personal injury claim against them?

A:  Every employer has a duty to ensure the reasonable safety of their workforce and must put in place appropriate safety systems to protect employees so far as is reasonable in all circumstances.

From the information provided it appears your employers did not do all they could to ensure your safety. They neither provided you with appropriate health and safety training in using hazardous substances nor appropriate protective equipment, i.e. goggles. As a consequence of this you sustained serious injuries and are entitled to make a claim for compensation.

If, as is likely, liability is found against your employers, this could potentially be a high value claim due to the permanent nature of your injuries.

Your employers cannot fairly dismiss you just for making a personal injury claim as it could be said to be for reasons relating to health and safety. You would have a good claim against them for unfair dismissal.

Due to the complex nature of this claim, involving both a high value personal injury claim and employment matters, you should seek immediate legal advice from a local firm of solicitors who, like ourselves, have a specialist team of personal injury and employment lawyers.

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner and Complaints Handler

Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham