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The Covid diaries: Day 30 - Testing Times

The Covid diaries: Day 30 - Testing Times

A daily fly-on-the-wall blog about running a legal business during the Covid-19 crisis.

By Dónall Breen - 28 April

Testing Times

Sometimes it feels like we are in a bad episode of Black Mirror.

Although we haven't descended into full dystopia just yet, going to the shops yesterday through a valley of squinting windows made me think I was in the White Bear episode. Of course, neighbours peering from balconies is nothing new or unusual, but on such a scale is a little unsettling. Especially when I was rocking my 'ankle high sport socks in dirty trainers' look usually reserved for the back garden.

Another 1984esque development is temperature testing at ever increasing locations. Many are now predicting that temperature checks will gradually turn into Covid checks once a speedy, reliable kit is available. That raises a whole host of employment law issues.

This post isn't about looking at those issues in detail (spoiler alert: GDPR), however I am starting to reflect on the new tool kit I will need in the future to do my job properly. Employment lawyers of 2021 will require a firm grasp of medical law, the rights surrounding handling health data, and a slew of other (once tangential) areas of regulation that will now fall squarely in our labour law arena.

In short, if the workplace turns into a makeshift field testing centre, those advising the employers will need some new knowledge to advise properly.

It is not only lawyers who are affected. I can only imagine the sea-change that is about to occur in the health and safety industry as consultants grapple with virology as their latest line item on the workplace safety checklist.

Sometimes your job changes as you react to the demands of your client. That's normal. But the breadth of this change and the pace at which it is occurring are making this transition anything but normal. As I said, testing times...

If you would like to read our Covid diaries starting from day 1 please click here.