One of our employees took part on our grounds in the Ice Bucket Challenge. It seemed like a good idea and was to raise money for charity. However, one of the employees tipping a bucket slipped and damaged vertebrae in her back. She’s now off sick and threatening to sue us because we allowed the thing to take place without adequate warnings. We didn’t encourage it – we just let the employees get on with it. Where do we stand legally and is this another case of health and safety gone mad? Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 2 September 2014
Legal liability in cases such as these will be determined on the facts of the matter. An action under common law in a situation like this is likely to be based on negligence.
To succeed in an action for negligence the injured party would have to prove on the balance of probabilities that the employer owed him a duty of care, that the employer was in breach of the duty of care and that the breach caused the injury.
The duty of care imposed upon the employer depends upon the circumstances: the employer has to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injury or loss. The existence of an employer/employee relationship may make the courts more ready to impose stricter duties of care.
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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015
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