Harvest Press Ltd v McCaffrey (EAT 1999 IRLR 778)

100 (1)(e) of the ERA gives protection where an employee takes steps to protect himself or other persons from serious and imminent danger. This protection includes protecting the public from danger.

Case facts

Mr McCaffrey was employed as a machine minder. He worked on the night shift with one other person, a Mr Huson. He had worked at the factory for less than three months. Mr McCaffrey complained to his employers about Mr Huson. Mr Huson found out about the complaint because he had been asked to stay behind at the end of the shift to see the manager. During the night shift Mr Huson became abusive, shouting at Mr McCaffrey and standing over him while he attempted to ring his manager. Mr McCaffery was scared by this, did not feel safe at work and went home to ring his manager. He also spoke to someone more senior in the company and said he would not return unless he had some assurances about his safety.

Conclusion for me

The EAT upheld the Tribunal’s decision saying that the words in the statute (ERA 1996 S.100) “are quite general” and that a “danger” could cover “dangers” caused by the behavior of other employees. The EAT gave other examples where co-workers’ behavior could give rise to “danger”.

Updated: 3rd May, 2021
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