What is the risk of the worker who hides having had contact with a Covid patient? Are there any consequences? Some employers have a heavy hand and – in order to ensure safety in the workplace – they have also come to impose dismissal, recalls laleggepertutti.it. It happened in a case recently decided by the Palermo Court of Appeal, which however condemned the company (a private security and surveillance group) to the reintegration of the worker (who performed the duties of a security guard) and to the payment of an indemnity. compensation in his favor. The dismissal was deemed unlawful because the conduct was not particularly serious and, therefore, the penalty was disproportionate. The worker had failed to inform that his wife had come into ‘close contact’ with a positive person at Covid and, moreover, had learned of the circumstance only several days later, when he received the notice from the health authority. The responsibility of the employer in case of infections from Covid-19 Every employer is required by law to guarantee safety and health in the workplace. The basic rule states that: “The entrepreneur is required to adopt, in the running of the business, the measures which, according to the particular nature of the work, experience and technique, are necessary to protect the physical integrity and moral personality of workers “. A specific and detailed Consolidated Law establishes the essential rules for preserving the health and safety of workers in every aspect, including the avoidance of the danger of spreading diseases, and prescribes a series of interventions to be adopted to prevent infectious diseases of all kinds. , among which there is currently also Covid-19. Measures to combat the contagion from Covid in the workplace have been dictated in the various emergency decrees, starting with the “Cura Italia” launched in March 2020, ie at the beginning of the pandemic emergency to arrive following the detailed protocols attached to the various Dpcm issued by the Government for each sector of activity, which dictate the specific measures to combat the spread of Coronavirus in the various civil, work and social areas. always ensure that these prevention rules are effectively respected, so much so that he also responds criminally if compliance is neglected: in fact, “n Not to prevent an event that one has a legal obligation to prevent is equivalent to causing it “. Therefore, the company manager may be called to answer for the crimes of negligent injury, or manslaughter, deriving from his omissions that have caused an extension of the infections from Covid-19 in the workplace. 19 The contagion from Covid-19 occurring in the workplace is equivalent to an accident at work and is therefore covered by the indemnity insurance protection offered by Inail, the national institute for insurance of accidents at work. Compensation for Covid-19 contagion is recognized by Inail following a rather quick procedure, which starts with the normal disease certification issued by INPS (the specific medical certificate required for other cases of accident reporting on Instead, quarantine in the year 2021 is no longer equated to illness for economic purposes (unlike what happened in 2020) and, therefore, is not covered by remuneration; therefore – subject to the next regulatory interventions by the Government – the burden of absence now falls directly on the worker, except for the voluntary intervention of the company in support of employees.But what must the worker who has had contact with Covid cases do ? The worker who has personally contracted Covid must immediately inform the employer, to allow the adoption of the appropriate precautionary measures – starting from the sanitation of the premises – towards other employees, who must be notified in case of close contact and prolonged with the colleague who fell ill. If, on the other hand, the infection has arisen in a person with whom the worker has come into contact – for any reason, and not necessarily in the workplace – it is necessary to distinguish, according to the most recent indications provided by the Ministry of Health, between: – Contact ‘to high risk ‘(also called’ close contact ‘) for anyone who has been close to a Covid case within two meters and for more than 15 minutes, or has come into contact with its infectious secretions (coughing, sneezing, etc.), or has been with him in an enclosed environment (school class, meeting room, family home, etc.) or traveling together; – ‘Low risk’ contact when the duration of the close encounter less than two meters with the case Covid lasted less than 15 minutes and, moreover, for all passengers and crew of a flight in which a Covid case was present. Therefore, close contacts are above all those relating to people who live together in the same house where there is it is a case of Covid-19 and also those of «co epidemiological connection “with other subjects who have developed the disease and with whom there has also been an episodic and completely casual contact, such as that with a stranger. The opportunities for contact can be the most disparate and even accidental, such as proximity to a passenger on a plane or train or presence together with an event or reception; in addition, of course, to sharing the same working environments. For all these cases, the Health Authority, through the territorial Prevention Department, launches an epidemiological investigation to identify the interested parties; warns them, places them in precautionary quarantine and subjects them to the swab, to find the presence or not of the infection. In the meantime and pending the outcome, these individuals must remain in fiduciary isolation. In the workplace, colleagues identified as close contacts of a worker who tested positive for Covid-19 are also placed in quarantine and subjected to tests.The duration of the fiduciary quarantine varies according to the type of contact and also depends on whether or not the vaccination cycle. Specifically: – For high-risk contacts (close contacts) subjects who have completed the vaccination course for at least 14 days must be in quarantine for only 7 days and can return to the community after a molecular or antigen test with negative results (the period is extended to 10 days for unvaccinated and, for all, up to 14 days in the absence of a diagnostic test); – For low-risk contacts, if the subject has completed the vaccination cycle, quarantine is not necessary; for the unvaccinated, on the other hand, if the contact took place with a case of “VOC non Beta variant”, suspected or confirmed (or of another variant for which sequencing is not available), the quarantine lasts 10 days and the return to the community is subject to a negative molecular or antigen test, therefore, those who have had close contact with a confirmed case of Covid cannot go to work, but must necessarily inform their employer, stay at home, observe the quarantine of at least 7 days, starting from the moment of the last exposure, and swab at the end: will you be able to return to work when you have obtained the negative result of the test. to which we mentioned at the beginning, considered unlawful the dismissal imposed on a worker who had failed to communicate to his employer a contact with a Covid case (the ascertained positivity re looked at a colleague of the employee’s wife). The omission emerged only later and by chance, from a check of medical certificates of illness. At that point, the company had ordered the dismissal for just cause, recognizing an “irresponsible behavior” of the employee and the risk of spreading the epidemic in the workplace, as the employer had not been able to take the measures precautionary measures necessary to prevent the spread of the infection, in particular towards colleagues who had worked shifts with the employee in question.However, the Court found that the communication of the Covid case to the worker concerned had taken place by the ASP of Palermo only after several days, by which time the work services had been carried out (the health authority arranged for home isolation “with retroactive effect from the date of contact”, dating back to 10 days earlier); and in any case from that moment the man had placed himself in home isolation and had not carried out any work activity until the end of the prescribed quarantine period. Furthermore, the company has not been able to indicate any “specific prejudice, even potential”, deriving from the failure to communicate the Covid case. Therefore, the omitted notice to the employer was considered a “non-compliance of little importance”, without concrete offensiveness: therefore , the sanction for dismissal had been excessive (and, in some ways, also “retaliatory”, taking into account other peculiarities of the affair). You can read the sentence of the Court of Appeal in full in the “sentence” box at the end of this article.