An EastEnders director was sacked after bringing coronavirus to work - could the same happen to you?

An EastEnders director has reportedly been fired after showing up to work at the TV programme’s set, despite having Covid-19 symptoms.

According to The Sun, EastEnders bosses have decided to let one of the soap’s assistant directors go after turning up for work when they were feeling unwell and had already taken a Covid-19 test.

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What happened?

Jo Nugent spent two days on set while waiting for results of a Covid-19 test, the newspaper reports. It was only after the test results came back positive that Nugent allegedly admitted to experiencing symptoms.

The director was then reportedly let go for breaching coronavirus safety rules, with a source stating, “Senior actors were livid and felt let down. There was talk of mutiny. He was given the boot, partly to assuage cast members.”

A BBC spokesperson said, “We can confirm that two members of the EastEnders team have tested positive for coronavirus and they are now self-isolating at home following the latest government guidelines.

“We have rigorous protocols in place to manage Covid-19 as the safety of all those involved in the production is paramount.”

Could I be sacked for going to work with coronavirus?

Philip Landau, employment lawyer at specialist employment law firm Landau Law, said, “If any employee willfully refuses to comply with the requirement to self-isolate when they have Covid-19 symptoms, an employer will be well within its rights to consider the issue as a serious disciplinary matter.

“In most cases, it can amount to gross misconduct and a subsequent dismissal. This is especially if the individual poses a clear health and safety risk to his or her work colleagues.

“Of course, each case would need to be determined on its own facts. If it comes to an employer’s attention that an employee has flouted the self-isolation rules by socially mixing with people during the weekend, and that employee works from home, then a gross misconduct dismissal may well be considered to be too harsh a sanction.

“However, if flouting the rules impacts others in the workplace or disrupts the employers business in other ways, then a harsher sanction can expect to follow.

“I have seen many examples of employers taking a hard stance against those who flagrantly breach the Covid-19 guidelines. This is not surprising as employers have an overriding health and safety obligation to protect the well-being of their staff.”

Adam Pennington, a solicitor in the employment team at Stephensons, also said, “For most, if not all workplaces, serious breaches of health and safety by an employee is capable of amounting to gross misconduct and therefore is likely to trigger an employer’s disciplinary process. As highlighted in Mr Nugent’s case, this can ultimately lead to dismissal.

“Both employers and their staff must also bear in mind that the government has now introduced The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 which set out mandatory periods for self-isolation.

“The Regulations place an obligation on a worker to tell their employer that they are self-isolating and any individual who breaches self-isolation will, normally, commit a separate criminal offence.

“Employers will also commit an offence if they allow a worker who has tested positive, or lives with someone who has tested positive, to attend the workplace.”