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Sainsbury’s Employee Coronavirus Compensation Claims

This online guide is aimed at employees of Sainsbury’s who have caught coronavirus at work. Many supermarket staff have had to go to work during the coronavirus pandemic. Employers were supposed to issue all staff with the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the possibility of an infection.

However, even people wearing full COVID-19 PPE can still catch the illness. On this page, we look at how employees could be able to claim against their employer for contracting the coronavirus.

Employee coronavirus claims against a Sainsbury's supermarket guide

Despite the quantity of information in this guide, your claim might have unique aspects that are specific to your circumstances, and that we have not covered in this guide.

This means not all of your questions may be answered. If so, call our claims team on 0800 073 8804 to get the answers you need.

Select A Section:

What PPE Should Retail Workers Be Issued?

Retail workers are often in customer-facing roles. Meaning at times such as the coronavirus pandemic, they cannot isolate fully; they are always dealing with customers face to face. For these kinds of workers, the kinds of recommended PPE they should use includes but is not limited to:

  • A supply of hand sanitizer.
  • Protective gloves.
  • A mask covering their nose and mouth.
  • Face and eye protection
  • A protective screen separating them from customers.
  • Protective aprons, which should be replaced regularly.

If PPE is not provided to customer-facing staff at Sainsbury’s, and it can be proven that it was this failure that led to an employee becoming infected, then in some cases, a compensation claim could be possible. Speaking to our claims team is a good way to find out if your claim is valid or not.

Explaining Your Rights If You Are Unable To Work Due To Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in millions of people being unable to go to work. Most of those affected were perfectly healthy and were told to stay at home to self-isolate. Some caught the virus while at work. For people who have become ill at work, they have the right to try and claim damages for this. In order to do so they must:

  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Contracted the illness while they were at work.
  • Prove that they were infected due to ineffective PPE being provided at work.

In the case of people who have had to stay at home and self-isolate, their employment rights include:

  • They could be able to receive the Government-backed wage if put on furlough.
  • Cannot be dismissed for self-isolating at home if they work in a job that is not in the exempt/required workers list.
  • If your employer remains open, does not furlough you, and reduces your hours, you are entitled to your full pay.
  • If you are on the list of needed/required workers and your employer tells you to stay at home, you are entitled to your full pay.

If anything happens to an employee that breaches these rights, for example, they are fired with no just cause, then they could be in a position to make a compensation claim. Our claims team is waiting to hear your situation, and they will tell you whether you have a possible claim once they have spoken to you.

PPE Considerations Employers Could Take

Supermarkets qualify as necessary services and are allowed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the business has to take certain steps to ensure that employees are kept safe from harm. Staff must be encouraged to work from home if they can. Additionally, a risk assessment must be undertaken, and reasonable steps put in place to mitigate the risk of infection. In the following sections, we will cover the kinds of coronavirus PPE the employer must provide. On top of this, there are general working practices that must be adopted in the workplace, such as:

  • Staff should wash their hands regularly for 20 seconds or more using soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  • When wearing a mask, avoid touching the mask or the face to ensure there’s no contamination from the face mask.
  • Change face masks if they have been touched, or if they become damp or wet.
  • Change face masks regularly.
  • Launder all work clothing regularly following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Practice social distancing at work where possible.

Your employer must ensure these things are carried out by all staff. Failure to enforce these guidelines could leave the employer liable to pay compensation if an employee becomes ill. Speak to one of our claim advisors to learn more.

Applicable PPE For Customer-Facing Staff

The UK Government has issued guidelines for the kind of PPE that staff should wear. It is important to understand that your employer must provide store staff with PPE, and it should comply with the guidelines the UK Government has published. The kinds of PPE used to prevent the spread of coronavirus in supermarkets includes:

  • A Class 3 filtered respirator (only used when staff are at a very high risk of infection).
  • A fluid-resistant surgical mask.
  • Face and eye protection.
  • Disposable gowns and aprons.
  • Disposable gloves.

If you contracted COVID-19 while at work, and you were not provided with these kinds of PPE, then you may be in a position to make a compensation claim. Speak to our claims team for further information on how to do this.

Applicable PPE For Distribution Staff

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of pneumonia-like symptoms, supermarkets are required to provide staff with PPE. This includes distribution staff. The PPE that distribution staff use is a little different from that which store workers use. For example:

  • A Class 3 filtered respirator (only used when staff are at a very high risk of infection).
  • A fluid-resistant surgical mask.
  • Face and eye protection.
  • Strong disposable gloves.

Distribution staff may need to lift or move boxes, cages or trollies. Therefore, the PPE they are provided with needs to be robust enough to withstand this kind of stress. If a company, for example, gave distribution staff flimsy disposable gloves that tear easily, and an employee caught the coronavirus because of this, a claim could be possible.

Applicable PPE For Cleaning Staff

A supermarket’s coronavirus work policy needs to make provision for cleaning staff as well. Once again, the function of PPE against coronavirus for cleaning staff is somewhat different. Including:

  • A Class 3 filtered respirator (only used when staff are at a very high risk of infection).
  • A fluid-resistant surgical mask.
  • Face and eye protection.
  • Fluid resistant disposable gowns and aprons.
  • Fluid resistant disposable gloves.

The main change here is that cleaning staff need PPE that is fluid-resistant, due to the fact that they are using water and cleaning chemicals. If, for example, a member of the cleaning staff caught the virus due to non-fluid proof gloves disintegrating on contact with water, there could be a basis for a compensation claim. One of our claim advisors would be able to provide more information about this.

I Was Not Shown How To Use My PPE And Contracted Covid-19 At Work, Could I Claim?

One of the health and safety statutes that apply to all businesses that have remained open during the coronavirus pandemic is the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. which relates to PPE.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has clearly stated in its guidance on the PPE regulations that all staff must be trained in the wearing and use of PPE at work. This is a legal obligation that cannot be avoided and failure to provide adequate training and instruction could be deemed as a failure in health and safety compliance.

Furthermore, if an employee contracts the coronavirus because they were not instructed properly about how to put on, wear or use their PPE at work, then personal injury claims could be possible. If you speak to our claims team they will be able to tell you whether you have a valid claim for this or not.

Calculating Employee Compensation Claims For Coronavirus Contracted At Work

You might be able to track down some kind of automated tool such as a personal injury claims calculator that might give you a rough idea of the amount of compensation you could be able to claim for a work-related illness. Alternatively, you can look up the severity of the illness that you suffered in the table below, and find out the possible range of compensation you might be able to claim for. This table is based on the Judicial College Guidelines, a legal publication used by solicitors and the courts to value claims.

Health Issue How Bad? Compensation Notes
Illness Minor Up to £3,710 Under this heading, we would include all illnesses that have minor symptoms, and that would clear up completely within a few days to a few weeks. Symptoms could include diarrhoea, sickness, stomach cramps, muscle cramps, or any other symptom an illness can manifest.
Illness Moderate £3,710 to £8,950 Under this heading, we would include all illnesses that have moderate symptoms, and these may require hospitalisation to treat initially, and from a few weeks to two years to heal completely. Symptoms such as diarrhoea, sickness, stomach cramps, muscle cramps, or any other symptom an illness can cause.
Illness Serious £8,950 to £18,020 Under this heading, we would include all illnesses that have serious symptoms, and these would need hospitalisation to treat right away, these initial symptoms would be very bad but clear up quickly. Symptoms such as diarrhoea, sickness, stomach cramps, muscle cramps, or any other symptom an illness can result in. However, further symptoms such as affected bowel function, loss of enjoyment of food, etc. could last for many years or even for the rest of the victim’s life.
Illness Severe £36,060 to £49,270 Under this heading, we would include all illnesses that have severe symptoms, and these would possibly need emergency hospitalisation to treat right away. All symptoms would acute, possibly life-threatening and recovery would last into the long-term.
Death Full Awareness £11,770 to £22,350 When death is the result of an illness or injuries, and the victim is partially conscious for much of the time, and is well aware of their impending death. Death would come within two weeks to three months and traumatic treatment may be tried during that time to attempt to save the patient, but causing severe pain and suffering.

You may feel that this table isn’t accurate enough, and you would like a personalised estimate of the amount you could claim based on your unique circumstances. If this is so, please speak with our claims team today. They can arrange for one of our solicitors to value your claim for you.

Special Damages Which Supermarket Illness Claims May Include

If you use a personal injury solicitor to make a work-related illness claim, and the claim is a success, then the settlement that you receive either out of court or in court, may be made up of two kinds of damages: general damages and special damages.

General damages are paid for the physical, emotional and psychological hardship the claimant has suffered. When the damages are calculated, the calculation is driven by the level of pain and suffering the victim has gone through, how long they were ill for, whether they had to undergo traumatic treatment, and whether there will be any long-term or permanent symptoms. General damages might be paid for:

  • Long-term or permanent disabilities that will lower the life-quality of the claimant and prevent them from working.
  • Painful, traumatic or invasive treatment that the claimant was subjected to.
  • A long period of time spent in recovery, with loss of quality of life.
  • Psychological injuries such as depression or anxiety caused by being ill for an extended period.
  • General pain and suffering caused by the symptoms of the claimant’s illness.

Special damages are designed to compensate you for all of financial and ad-hoc losses related to the injury, both already incurred and yet to be incurred. When claiming for costs already incurred, the claimant will need to present documentary evidence to back up their claim. Special damages might be paid for:

  • The long-term financial impact of not being able to work at the same level as before the illness, or possibly not being able to work at all.
  • The financial loss suffered by spending time away from work recovering and not being paid full salary/wages during this time.
  • The cost of any private healthcare treatment that was not available on the National Health Service (NHS).
  • The cost of hiring a nurse to care for the claimant at home.
  • To reimburse out of pocket expenses such as travel costs.

These are some of the basic types of damages that a settlement might consist of. There are, of course, more. One of our expert claim advisors should be able to give you an idea of the kinds of damages you could be able to claim based on your own circumstances. Give our team a call today.

No Win No Fee Compensation Claims For Coronavirus Contracted Working At A Supermarket

You could be able to use the services of one of our solicitors working under a No Win No Fee agreement to make your workplace illness claim. Also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), a CFA is a great way for you to get the legal expertise you need to make a claim, without exposing yourself to unnecessary financial risk. The solicitor won’t expect to be paid to start the claim or during the time they are processing it. If the solicitor fails, and the claim is unsuccessful, they still will not expect to be paid.

A successful claim, on the other hand, may see your solicitor seek a small contribution toward their costs. This contribution is known as a success fee, the level of which is legally capped. One of our claim advisors will be happy to explain more about No Win No Fee claims if you give our team a call.

Why Trust Legal Expert To Handle Your Case?

With over 30 years’ experience and a wealth of expertise related to health and safety at work claims, our team of solicitors can provide you with the help you need to get the compensation you could be eligible for. They will do all they can to ensure your claim is a success and will keep you fully updated every step of the way.

Start Your Claim For Covid-19 Contracted At Work

Have you contracted the coronavirus while you were working at Sainsbury’s? Then you should contact our claims team on 0800 073 8804 today. An expert claims advisor will evaluate your claim for you, and give you some free legal advice on how best to proceed with it.

Essential References

These external pages could be useful:


COVID-19 In The Workplace

Coronavirus Advice For Employers

These other guides might be worth a read:

Work-Related Illness Claims

A Guide to COVID PPE Claims

Claiming Against Aldi For Coronavirus


Written by Wheeler

Edited by Billing

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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