It’s been a very strange few weeks, well if it could possibly get any stranger than it already is.
On the 16th February I uploaded a 30 minute video onto my YouTube channel, titled “Vaccination and Vacation or Sceptical Staycation?” The video accompanied an article which I have also published in print.
The video was taken down within 3 hours of being uploaded, it had been viewed by 4 people (yes a whopping 4 people) and bearing in mind the channel is less than 4 weeks old and has less than 10 subscribers! Someone was incredibly upset with the content I had produced but neglected to give me a reason for censoring it.
I subsequently found myself banned for the second time on YouTube, the previous ban was for re uploading a speech which I gave in Sheffield last summer that had reached 67.5k views on another channel before being taken down by YouTube. Free speech really is under the threat of total annihilation!
On the 28th Feb I arrived at work (yes, I work full time, 48 hours per week as well as writing and researching, no furlough for me!) at 6 a.m. where it quickly transpired, that the company I work for, had suddenly decided to introduce ‘on the spot’ covid testing!
I entered the building and was met by someone I’d never met previously (who was wearing a Hi-Viz vest, so he must’ve been important!) and was told “You need to take a covid test mate.” I politely responded by explaining to the newly appointed Hi-Viz Health Enforcement Officer (he was a supervisor apparently), that “I don’t need to take any test and will not be doing as I’m not sick or showing any symptoms.”
“If you don’t take the test you’ll be immediately suspended and face disciplinary action.” I was told.
I was completely taken by surprise and was amazed that this individual, who had been given the task of herding people into a temporary testing facility (basically an office with rearranged furniture) had no clue that what he was doing or what he was instructing people to do, was completely unethical and unlawful.
I replied by attempting to appeal to his common sense, with “Really? You do realise that I have inalienable rights to bodily integrity and what you have just said is totally unlawful, don’t you? Are you threatening me with disciplinary action should I not consent to an invasive medical procedure? Because that would be coercion.”
He reasoned his instruction with “It’s no different to a drugs and alcohol test.”
I went on to explain to him that the covid test is nothing like a drugs and alcohol test and that the drugs and alcohol test is consensual and part of the terms and conditions within the contract of my employment, should I be suspected of being drunk or under the influence of drugs whilst at work.
I also added that the covid test is an invasive medical procedure which requires the appropriate training, as there is a danger that an untrained person could cause injury by piercing the blood brain barrier.
I asked him if the person performing the test had any medical qualifications at all (she didn’t and is in fact in the vulnerable group for covid, as she has a child at home with a respiratory issue!!) and what training they had received.
I was told that the person overseeing the test had been trained and was instructing others to perform their own tests. I asked what training she’d had that qualified her to instruct people to perform invasive medical tests on themselves and received no response.
After a lengthy debate with the obviously unqualified Hi-Viz Health Enforcement Officer, whilst in full view of roughly thirtyish other people crammed into an open office, it was decided that I was suspended on full pay pending an investigation for the allegation of ‘Refusing a reasonable management instruction, refusing a lateral flow test’ which could result in disciplinary action. I was handed a letter of suspension in full view of the gawping group of willing test subjects and told “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
This entire incident was completely wrong on so many levels I was stunned that it was actually happening and went home in sheer amazement.
I arrived back home at 6.30a.m. Much to the confusion of my partner (who is in the medical profession) who was in complete disbelief when I told her the full story over a cup of coffee. I then typed up the entire incident as a statement whilst it was still fresh in my mind so as not to forget any details. (I have attached a copy of the suspension letter and my statement at the end of this article should you wish to read my version of the whole encounter).
On the 3rd March I was invited into an interview with HR regarding the allegations and subsequent suspension which lasted roughly 30 mins.
I handed them a pre prepared statement containing my version of events from the incident. I then read it out for the record. I was asked a couple rather pointless questions, which aren’t even worth mentioning, before handing them my written conclusion. I read it out for the record and is as follows.
“I do not accept the allegations that I refused a “reasonable management request”. (By refusing a lateral flow test.)
The current government guidelines on testing for covid in the work place are quite clear.
Government guidelines state that employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees, it is likely that they can reasonably instruct an employee exhibiting symptoms to be tested.
However, it may not be reasonable for the employer to require an employee to be tested, if they are not exhibiting symptoms (for example, if they are part of a testing programme to identify possible asymptomatic cases).
The current government guidelines state that if I have exhibit symptoms of covid then I should report to a testing centre to take an RT – PCR test and that testing requires my consent, as the tests are an invasive medical procedure.
Should I exhibit symptoms, I would not attend my place of work and I would consult the government’s guidelines.
I had received no prior communication from (work place omitted) before the 28/02/21, that I would be required to give my consent to take a test for covid.
I work alone and outside in a huge yard area, where I have close to zero physical interaction with any other person throughout my working day, therefore there are no reasonable grounds to:-
a) Reasonably suspect that I am asymptomatically infected with covid or
b) That I am considered to be in a category of risk that would potentially increase the spread of covid.
Taking into consideration the above information, I cannot accept that I did not follow a reasonable management request.
I am of the view that I exercised my inalienable rights to privacy, confidentiality and bodily integrity which were completely ignored.
I do not believe that the health and safety obligations within my contract of employment were applied to me at any time during the incident.
On reflection, however, I am of the view that there are several potential breeches of my contract of employment.”
I handed over a pre prepared list of ten questions which I would require the answers, prior to any disciplinary hearing, should one go ahead. Those questions can be found at the end of the article should you wish to read them.
The interview concluded and I left, pondering the possible disciplinary hearing which I had no doubt would soon take place. To my astonishment it never did!
Instead I received a phone call from a senior manager apologising to me for what had happened and that the allegations had been dropped and I was free to return to work on Monday 9th March.
I was totally shocked, particularly when considering the current climate we are in. I had been looking passed returning to work and pondering my future post dismissal and was feeling rather bleak about the whole thing but despite my worries I stood my ground and I won! A small but very significant little victory!
I am in no doubt that there will be more battles to fight in this war of medical tyranny and with certainty, the enemy along with their army of Hi-Viz Health Enforcement Officers, will be planning other attacks on freedom and liberty but for now I have survived to fight another day.
I am an ex Royal Marines Commando and my gut instinct will always be to stand and fight. I understand that not everyone is able to do the same and I would never criticise them for that but I could not justify, not putting into practice, that which I encourage others to do. I have never and will never encourage someone to do something, which I am not prepared to do myself.
These are testing times where every little victory matters, however small and we must push back where we can, however we can!
If you wish to read the statements, questions and letter of suspension, then continue on. I have left out the name of my employer and those involved, as I still work there and would be in breach of my contract of employment should I reveal such details whilst still employed there.
I would further like to add that this is a personal experience and I am not advising or encouraging anyone to imitate my actions nor do I give advice in any legal capacity.
I believe it is everyone’s personal responsibility to educate themselves on their inalienable rights and exercise them where they feel they are obliged to.
MY STATEMENT OF THE INCIDENT
1. I arrived to (work place omitted) at 0554hrs on 28/02/2021, which is my normal place of work. I am employed as a (title omitted). My duties are to (job description omitted).
2. On entering the building, I was immediately met in the main entrance, by a person unknown to me, who did not identify themselves to me and immediately instructed me to take a test for covid 19.
3. I asked why I was being instructed to take a covid test and was simply told that “Everyone was being tested.”
4. I refused to take the test on the grounds that I was not showing symptoms of covid 19, I was not ill, I had not been in contact with anyone showing symptoms of covid and that any test would require my consent.
5. I was instantly threatened with suspension should I not comply with the testing that was being carried out.
6. I explained that it was unlawful to coerce me into an invasive medical procedure and that my inalienable rights to bodily integrity were being disregarded as a result of the attempted coercion.
7. This was refuted by the person instructing me to take the test who went on to inform me that “The covid test is like the Drugs and Alcohol test and if you refuse to take it you will be suspended and face possible disciplinary action.”
8. I again pointed out that that statement alone was coercion and unlawful. I also added that the drugs and alcohol tests were totally different and that they were part of a consensual contract of employment.
9. I explained that being ordered to participate in an invasive medical procedure at the behest of anyone who simply orders me to, is definitely not within the terms and conditions of my contract of employment.
10. I was concerned that the conditions of the test were unsafe and that the area of testing was inappropriate for several reasons.
11. I explained my reservations regarding the inaccurate covid testing system which was being used, the way in which it was being used and the setting in which it was being performed, was of a huge concern.
The test produces high rates of false positives which wrongly inform the individual being tested that they are positive resulting in financial loss due to forced quarantining.
Whilst being performed by non-medically qualified staff, the chances of test inaccuracy is dramatically enhanced due to possible cross contamination because the whole of the workforce were all being ushered into the same room at the same time, not socially distancing and not wearing any face coverings. This is not in line with the standards of a medical testing facility.
I also had concerns that the area had not been suitably disinfected or prepared to the required standard of a medical testing facility.
12. I asked if there was a Medically Qualified person on site performing the testing procedure, as the action of swabbing the nasal passage can be dangerous when performed by unqualified people and can result in injury or damage to the blood brain barrier.
13. I was told that the person performing the test had been trained.
14. I asked who was performing the test and what training they had received.
15. I was then told that members of staff were performing their own tests. I was at this point extremely concerned bordering on horrified at such a cavalier approach to my health and safety.
16. I explained that could be a particularly dangerous and those performing procedures on themselves could injure themselves if they pierce their blood brain barrier.
17. I then asked if I was being suspended because if I was, then I needed to be going home immediately due to the unsafe environment I was in and the level of distress this had caused me.
18. I was told by another member of staff, who instructed me to go into the room where everyone was being tested because someone wanted my Family name.
19. I told this person, that whoever required my details should come out of the crowded room, which I assumed was suspected of a covid outbreak and get my details as I was not prepared to enter on the grounds of safety.
20. This person then came back and said “that I had to go in there as HR were in there.”
21. I asked this person to identify himself. He said “I’m just (name omitted).”
22. I informed (name omitted) that “this was a private matter” and that “I do not ‘need’ (as he put it) to go anywhere and that I do not take orders from strangers where my health is concerned.” I added that he should also mind his own business and repeated that should someone require my details that they come out and get them.
23. I was then shouted at by the security guard who said “it’s no good arguing with us, it’s not our rules”. Or words to that effect.
24. I responded by saying that “they were responsible for facilitating a procedure that could potentially cause injury and that they were involving themselves in the ‘argument’ by shouting comments.”
23. I was then handed a sheet of paper, informing me that I was suspended on full pay for “Refusing a reasonable management request” (refusing a lateral flow test for covid).
24. The person who handed me the letter did not identify himself, he did not take me to a private area to explain what was happening and simply said “don’t shoot the messenger”.
25. Not at any point during the incident was I offered the option of a private area to discuss any of the concerns I had raised, nor was I asked if I was comfortable discussing this in full view of the entire workforce. I have the right to privacy and confidentiality which was not afforded to me at all during this incident.
26. Throughout the incident which lasted roughly 20 minutes, I was subjected to several members of staff who found it highly appropriate to comment and voice their opinions on what should have been a private conversation between myself and a manager.
27. I found the entire experience to be, distressing, extremely humiliating and totally unprofessional.
28. I then left the premises, on receiving the letter of suspension.
QUESTIONS I HAD PREPARED FOR POSSIBLE DISCIPLINARY HEARING
1. What was the purpose of the mass testing on the date of the incident?
2. Who was given the responsibility for overseeing the testing?
3. What Medical Qualifications does the person responsible for overseeing the testing have?
4. What preparations were made in the area to be used for testing?
5. Was suitable insurance in place on the date of the incident, to cover any injury which could be sustained, as a direct result of Negligent Medical Procedures?
6. Why, was prior notice of testing not given, including an explanation for the requirement to be tested, as testing requires consent?
7. Why was I not taken to a private area to discuss my concerns to protect my confidentiality? And alleviate my clear and obvious distress?
8. Why were people allowed to form in a huge group whilst observing none of the government guidelines regarding social distancing or face coverings?
9. Why wasn’t there a qualified professional there to answer my concerns?
10. Which Laws, contractual or otherwise did the person suspending me from my duties, have the authority to behave in such an inappropriate, unethical and unprofessional manner?