Employer & NegligencePosted on:12/12/2015
|An employer owes a duty of care to each of his employees while they are in the course of their employment. An employer must provide and maintain a safe place of work and overall a safe work environment.
defined as careless conduct injuring another. Employers should recognize that
the duty of care is of a personal nature. In other words, the duty is owned to
each employee and not to the workforce as a whole. Thus in a negligence lawsuit
filed by an employee against the employer the court will examine the employee’s
circumstances and what could be reasonably expected of the employer in the
In actions for
negligence, the legal concepts of causation and foreseeability are significant.
It is for the employee to establish that the injury is a result of work related
circumstances and that the employer should have reasonably foreseen the
The burden of
proof falls in a negligence lawsuit falls on the employee. The employee must
prove that the employer was at fault or to blame. Once the employee has
established a breach of duty by the employer, it must be shown that this breach
caused or materially contributed to the injury suffered.
Employees and Psychiatric Injury
In case of a
psychiatric injury caused by work, it is not sufficient to show that the harm
was caused by the work alone. The claimant must prove the employer’s failure to
take appropriate action in the light of the fact that psychiatric injury to the
claimant was reasonably foreseeable.
Where there is
more than one cause of the psychiatric injury, for example home related
circumstances, the employer will be held liable only for that the proportion of
the harm suffered by the employee which can attributable to the wrongdoing of the
employer such as failure to take action.
In a claim for
psychiatric injury, when assessing damages, the court will consider any
pre-existing condition, disorder or vulnerability and the possibility that the claimant
would have suffered some form and level of psychiatric injury irrespective of
the breach of duty by the employer.
psychiatric injury requires some form of assessment and analysis by specialists
with a view to identifying the causes, both direct and indirect, of the injury.
Individual causes of psychiatric injury in the workplace can be associated with
the employee’s role in the organization, career development or lack of it, the
organizational structure and climate, factors intrinsic to the job,
relationships within the workplace and job or classic home/work conflict