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Can I Be Disciplined for Having an Accident at Work?

Many people who contact our legal advisors are worried about the consequences of making an accident at work claim. Many ask questions like, “Can I be disciplined for having an an accident at work?” or, “Will I get into trouble if I sue my employer”. As such, we’ve written this guide to try and answer these questions and to demonstrate when you could be compensated for any injuries sustained in the workplace.

If you do have any concerns about making an accident at work claim, our team can help. In a free consultation, a specialist will assess what happened, consider your chances of being compensated and set out your options. If your claim is feasible, it could be handled by one of our accident-at-work solicitors. If that happens, you’ll benefit from No Win, No Fee legal representation.

If you contact us, we will handle your call in confidence and answer any queries you may have. To get a free initial assessment of your case, you can:

  • Call us on 0333 241 2519 right now.
  • Use our online chat service at any time of day or night.

Please read on for more information about your rights if you’ve been disciplined after an accident at work but feel free to call the number above with any questions.

Can My Employer Discipline Me for Having an Accident at Work?

Whether your employer can discipline you for having an accident at work will depend on factors such as:

  • Who was at fault for the accident?
  • The seriousness of the incident.
  • The company’s policies and your employment contract.

For instance, your employer may decide to discipline you for an accident at work if you were only injured because you failed to use the PPE provided by your employer for your protection.

However, if the accident was not your fault, you should not be disciplined. In fact, if the accident was caused by employer negligence i.e. they failed to uphold the rules of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (or other laws), you may have grounds to claim workplace accident compensation for any suffering caused by the accident.

As we progress through this guide, we’ll explore some of the reasons why you could legally be disciplined following a workplace accident and what you should do if you believe the accident was not your fault.

What Are My Rights if I Am Disciplined After a Workplace Accident?

If your employer wishes to discipline you following an accident at work, you should remember that:

  • You have a right to a fair investigation.
  • A right to appeal if you think any action taken is unfair.
  • You are protected against discrimination by the Equality Act 2010 so any disciplinary action cannot be based on your protected characteristics (disability, gender etc).
  • A right to claim compensation for personal injuries caused by another party’s negligence.

If you are unfairly disciplined for an accident at work, you could have grounds to seek compensation for unfair or constructive dismissal.

What Should I Do if I Believe the Accident Was Not My Fault?

If you are involved in an accident at work there are certain steps you should take. These can help to protect yourself from being unfairly blamed for the accident and to meet your health and safety obligations. You should:

  • Report the accident as soon as you can.
  • Ask for the incident to be recorded in the accident book or a similar system.
  • Ensure that any injuries are checked by a medical professional. This should result in a faster recovery and your injuries will be documented in your medical records.

Where possible, you should always follow up any conversations you have with your employer about the incident with an email. This can be beneficial if you do face any type of disciplinary action as there will be a clear audit trail about what was said.

How Can I Prove an Accident Was Due to Unsafe Working Conditions?

If your accident was caused by unsafe working conditions, you should:

  • Take photographs of the accident scene to prove the cause of the incident.
  • Collect contact details from anyone who saw the accident in case witness statements are required later on.
  • Request a copy of any CCTV footage of your workplace accident if your employer uses security cameras.
  • Make sure you provide as much information as possible when the incident is recorded in the accident report book.

All of the above could provide you with the evidence you’ll need to a) prove the accident was not your fault and b) start a personal injury claim against your employer.

What Common Reasons Might Employers Use to Justify Disciplinary Action?

As stated earlier, there are some occasions where you could legally face disciplinary action after having an accident at work. For instance, your employer could take action against you if:

  • You failed to follow the company’s health and safety procedures.
  • The incident occurred because you voluntarily took on a task that you had not been trained to do.
  • You failed to use the personal protective equipment your employer had provided for your safety.
  • The accident happened because you were deliberately negligent.

For your protection, you may decide to take advice from a union or an external party such as ACAS before you attend a disciplinary meeting. We’ll delve into this a bit more shortly.

Can I Be Fired for Having a Workplace Accident?

Following a disciplinary hearing, you could ultimately be fired by your employer in some cases. This may be the case if:

  • You are found to have been responsible for the accident.
  • Your injuries prevent you from working (even after your employer has made reasonable adjustments).

However, you cannot be dismissed or face any negative consequences for filing a personal injury claim against your employer if you sustained a legitimate injury.

As discussed earlier, if you do face disciplinary action after an accident at work, you have the right to appeal. If you are sacked following an accident at work, you may have grounds to seek compensation for an unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal.

employer disciplining employee background

Check if you can claim compensation for an accident at work with our offer of a free consultation.

Our solicitors, with 30+ years of experience, offer a 100% No Win, No Fee claims service to pursue compensation without needing to pay any upfront fees.

Assess My Claim

Alternatively, call now on 0333 241 2519 to speak to a specialist solicitor.

What Should I Do if I Have Been Unfairly Disciplined?

If you do decide to appeal or go to an employment tribunal because you have been unfairly disciplined for having an accident at work, it’s important that you can prove what has happened.

Therefore, you could:

  • Raise an official complaint (in writing) with your employer about the way you have been treated.
  • Keep a diary of events i.e. dates, times and who was involved in any meetings about your accident.
  • Speak to your union if you are a member or consider involving organisations like ACAS if the issue cannot be resolved internally.

Crucially, you should keep as many records as possible to help defend yourself against any unfair disciplinary action.

Can I Appeal Against the Disciplinary Action Taken by My Employer?

As mentioned earlier, you have the right to appeal against any disciplinary action you face. If this is something you wish to do, you should:

  • Check your contract or your employer’s procedures on how to appeal.
  • Put your appeal in writing and explain why you disagree with any action that’s been taken against you.
  • Attend an appeal meeting or hearing. This will give you the opportunity to put your case forward and you may be entitled to have a trade union rep or colleague present.

Crucially, if you do intend to appeal, you should act as quickly as possible. It may be wise to seek advice from specialists and you should always try to collect as much evidence as possible to support your appeal.

What Role Do Trade Unions Play in Protecting Employees From Unfair Disciplinary Action?

Trade unions can play a crucial role in safeguarding employee rights and ensuring fair treatment, especially in cases of disciplinary action following a workplace accident. Here’s how they can help:

  • Offer specialist advice regarding health and safety regulations, employment law and company policies.
  • A union representative may offer to attend any disciplinary hearings and advocate for you.
  • The union could also deal with negotiations on your behalf if they feel any disciplinary action is unjust.

Additionally, unions may offer practical or emotional support to you during the disciplinary process.

If you are worried about being disciplined after having an accident at work and you are a member of a trade union, it is always a good idea to seek their advice before speaking to your employer.

How Does UK Employment Law Protect Workers From Unfair Treatment?

To help ensure that you don’t face unfair treatment following an accident at work, you are offered several protections by UK employment law including:

  • Protection from Dismissal: Put simply, you cannot be sacked for simply having an accident at work (unless caused by your own gross negligence).
  • Right to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): If you meet the eligibility criteria for SSP, your employer should pay it if you cannot work because of your injuries.
  • Discrimination Protection: As the Equality Act 2010 protects you from discrimination because of a disability, your employer must try to make reasonable adjustments if you’ve been left disabled following an accident at work rather than simply dismissing you or making you redundant.
  • The Right to Return to Work: A right to return to work so long as you are fit enough to carry out your role.
  • A Right to a Fair Disciplinary Procedure: This means that your employer’s investigation into your accident along with any disciplinary action must be fair and you must be able to provide your side of the story.

If you believe you’ve been unfairly treated after an accident at work or that your rights have not been upheld, you should discuss your options with a specialist where possible.

Can I Claim Compensation Following an Accident at Work?

All employers have a legal duty of care towards employee well-being. This is set out in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA).

As such, you may be entitled to begin a personal injury claim against your employer if:

  • You were involved in an accident at work in the last three years; and
  • The accident occurred because your employer failed to uphold their obligations according to HASAWA i.e. they were negligent; and
  • As a direct consequence, you sustained an injury or injuries.

If you have been injured at work and believe your case meets these criteria, one of our solicitors may be able to help you claim. If that’s the case, they’ll provide a No Win, No Fee service once you’ve signed a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

The CFA means that you only have to cover the cost of your solicitor’s work if you receive a compensation payout. Your solicitor’s success fee (which is legally capped), is a fixed percentage of your settlement as listed in your CFA.

To see if you could start a No Win, No Fee accident at work claim, please call now.

Contacting Us About Claiming Compensation for an Accident at Work

If you have been injured in a workplace accident and believe your employer was to blame, why not get in touch to discuss your options? You can do so by:

  • Calling 0333 241 2519 right now.
  • Connecting to our online chat service (available 24 hours a day).

You’re not obliged to start a compensation claim after your consultation. However, if you do decide to sue your employer and an accident-at-work solicitor from our panel offers you legal representation, you will receive a No Win, No Fee service throughout the claims process.

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