I’ve heard of the term “Employer’s liability” before, but what does this have to do with accidents at work? Employers are vicariously liable, that is to say responsible, for any negligent acts, or omissions, carried out by their employees during the scope of their employment.
The act or omission must be in relation to an authorised or connected act by the employer. The employer is also responsible for the health and safety of their employees, and has a legal duty to ensure that if they suffer an accident in the course of their employment, that they may be entitled to claim compensation.
I don’t understand legal jargon; can you give an example of potential accidents at work which would qualify?
If for example, you were at the supermarket and an employee begins to mop the floor but then fails to place a wet floor sign on the ground, and you as a customer were to trip, then the correct party to pursue compensation from is the supermarket, and not the individual employee.
Are employers responsible for every act committed by their employees?
Not always. Employers’ liability usually refers only to accidents at work or negligent behaviour in the workplace. In the cases of criminal acts, such as theft, assault and battery then the employer is not held to be vicariously liable for how their employee acts.
What if the accident or injury was as a result of an independent contractor?
Normally, an employer will not be held liable in cases where the accident or injury was caused by an independent contractor, for example, an electrician working on their premises. One notable exception, however, is when the independent contractor injures a person to whom the employer has a duty of care, for example a school pupil being injured by maintenance work being carried out at the school.
What is employer’s liability insurance?
An employee may be injured at work, or former employees may become ill, as a result of their work in employment where the effects were not immediately apparent such as, asbestos inhalation. An employee may pursue a claim for compensation.
The Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 requires all employers to have a minimal level of insurance to cover any such claims. An employer can be fined as the result of not having adequate cover.
What about members of the public?
Members of the public are not covered under employer’s liability insurance. Members of the public are covered by a company’s public liability insurance, however unlike employers’ liability insurance, public liability insurance is often voluntary.
Date Published: November 29, 2013
Author: David Brown