A number of employers in the city have pressured staff to return to work despite their close contact status.
This is according to a number of workers who have contacted the Galway City Tribune to report being ‘forced’ to return to work in industries such as hospitality and retail – despite an incomplete period of self-isolation. .
One of them, who asked not to be named, said she had been warned that there would be “consequences” if she did not return to work at a hotel in the city after only five days. a ten-day isolation period.
“They called me and told me I had to come in. When I refused, they told me I would be kicked off the list after my isolation was over, although I explained that I had to risk someone else getting Covid to be brought to work. », Explained the 18-year-old girl who had stayed in her room away from her family during the period of isolation.
Another worker who contacted the Tribune said his employer told him he was at risk of going out of business due to a staff shortage.
“My boss said I was needed and made me feel it was my fault that there had been a Covid outbreak in there,” said the trader who tested positive two days later. having refused to break his quarantine.
A third worker said that because she had just started a new job at a restaurant in town when she was told she was a close contact, her employer just “let go”.
Employees have the right to file a complaint with the Workplace Relations Commission if their rights are violated and can file a complaint with the Health and Safety Authority if their employer tries to circumvent Covid rules.
However, the retail employee told the newspaper that the complaint process was long and “seemed more complicated than it was worth.”
“Luckily my employer wouldn’t let me go, but that pressure was there the whole time I was on leave, even though there was nothing I could do. I felt like making a complaint would only make it worse, but I know colleagues who gave in to the pressure and went to work – even some who were showing symptoms. They just avoided taking a test because they were afraid of losing their jobs, ”he said.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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