Re: Face coverings at work
I am writing to you about your request for me as one of your employees to wear a face covering at work.
I am sure you are aware that wearing a face covering at work is not a legal requirement, except in relation to a designated business within statutory rules. However, in case you are not so aware, I have listed the businesses below which are covered by the statutory rules. I note that your business does not fall within the same.
In England, employees in the following sectors must wear a face covering:
- estate agents
- post offices
- public areas of hotels and hostels
Given the above, your request for me to wear a face covering is a request only and cannot be mandated to all employees. Further, your request of me to wear a face covering at work is unrelated to my duties, and this means that you can only enforce the same if the obligation is on a contractual footing.
My contract does not state that I must wear a face covering. As my contract with you is a legal agreement between us, its terms cannot lawfully be changed by you without agreement from me as the employee, (either individually or through a recognised trade union), and in any event you must not breach equality laws when changing contract terms.
Given that my contract has not been changed, and I have not agreed to a change, your request of me to wear a face covering is just that. I am therefore at liberty to refuse your request and wish to give you notice that I do so refuse.
In view of my position I now ask that you provide me with a copy of your health and safety risk assessment and your Covid risk assessment for my perusal. If you are considering imposing sanctions for my refusal to wear a face covering, I would ask you to consider the reasonableness of the same considering these assessments. I am happy to provide you with several peer reviewed medical reports about the dangers of face coverings and mask wearing to consider alongside your health and safety obligations to me as your employee.
I also ask that you consider whether face coverings are a proportionate way to address risk, after taking into account your health and safety and Covid risk assessments, and medical evidence, which shows that face coverings in fact represent a real threat to health. Additionally, please be aware that Government guidance is clear in that face coverings are NOT in fact a replacement for other ways of managing risk. The most effective methods of preventing the transmission of a virus remain social distancing, regular hand washing and cleaning.
I look forward to your confirmation that you accept my position and trust I will not be challenged when I arrive at work without a face covering. However, if you do wish to discuss any aspect of this letter, I am happy to attend a meeting befriended, at a mutually convenient date and time to be agreed between us.