VISITORS to a dole office in south London have attacked and threatened staff because the building is either much too hot or much too cold, the High Court will hear.
Because the air conditioning, heating and ventilation have not worked properly since 1997, temperatures fluctuate uncontrollably often outside the range considered acceptable for work causing serious discomfort to staff and visitors, the court will be told. The Employment Service, which leases the building in Newington Causeway at a rent of £97,500 a year is asking the High Court to force its landlord, the London
Borough of Southwark, to fix the system. It is also claiming damages of more than £15,000.
In a writ it claims the extremes of temperature have "led to members of staff working in the public areas being both threatened and physically assaulted on a number of occasions".
The Employment Service moved into the ground, first and second floors in 1997, and says repairs in that year were unsatisfactory and the system continued to deteriorate. Southwark allowed the Employment Service a period free
|of rent and service charges. But according to the writ, heating engineers' who monitored the system this year found defects with the same items identified as broken in 1995.
The service said free standing electric bar heaters have been used to warm the offices, but these are undesirable for safety reasons.
And the temperature changes are exacerbated as most of the building is glass.
The service says damages alone are not adequate, and wants an order forcing the borough to carry out repairs, including renewing and replacing worn parts.