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Army Veteran Discovers the Hazards of Selling Poppies – Political Correctness Strikes Again!

While health and safety at work is incredibly important, Russell HR Consulting advocates applying the law in a sensible and proportionate way. Unfortunately, a sort of red mist seems to descend over so many people when health and safety is mentioned and we end up with sheer silliness. And this is what seems to have happened last week.

Army veteran Jean Reno fought in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, but left the army in 2007 after suffering serious brain injuries in a road accident. He was helped into a new flat by service charities. Dressed in full military regalia, Mr Reno has been trying to do his bit to fund raise and last year raised more than £1,500 by selling poppies at Gunwharf Quays shopping centre, in Portsmouth.

However, this year he was told to stop selling poppies at unless he agreed to fill in a permission slip, which included a risk assessment. When he refused, the guard asked him to leave the premises. Mr Reno has pointed out that as he wasn’t required to complete a risk assessment when he was sent to Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Afghanistan, or Iraq, it’s somewhat odd that one should be needed in the comparative safety of Gunwharf Quays.

"I don't normally make a habit of leaving my house wearing my regimental blazer with medals on my chest, a box full of poppies and a collection tin, so I thought it was obvious that I had permission," said Mr Reno. Director of Gunwharf Quays Peter Emery commented "We were given a list from the Royal British Legion of the people who would be collecting for them this year.

But Mr Reno was not on it. "We approached him to try and make him official and get him on the list but he took offence. It is regrettable that it came to this but Mr Reno has now signed the form and we are happy to have him back selling poppies on the site. We fully support the Poppy Appeal."

We do live in a very odd world, don’t we? For help with understanding employment law, finding out about the risks and learning what to do to achieve the results you need, call us.

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