An employer has a duty of care towards his employees. This implies that he must ensure safe working conditions for his employees. When in spite of this an employee suffers injury – physical or mental – during his work he may hold the employer liable. An example of physical injury is an employee who breaks his leg due to a fall from a scaffold. Another example is the employee who loses a finger by amputation after having been caught in machinery. Burnout is an example of mental injury.

The employee is the first one to take action when claiming liability from the employer. In that case the employee only needs to demonstrate having suffered damage during work. If the employee is successful the employer must prove that he has taken all precautionary measures necessary to prevent the employee from suffering damage. The employer may also invoke malicious intent or gross negligence on the part of the employee. This is for the employer to prove. The burden of proof that lies on the employer is very intricate however. Court decisions show that malicious intent on the part of employees is almost never found.

The duty of care of an employer also covers persons who work for the employer without having concluded an employment agreement with that employer. The last-named category includes for instance temporary workers and independent workers without employees. The employer also has a duty of care towards his trainees and volunteers and towards people who work from home. For more information, see our section “Accidents in and around the home”.

A claim for liability on the part of an employer may also be made in case of damage suffered away from the workplace. Consider for instance the employee who must deliver something for his employer and who falls from his bicycle, breaking his leg. This is damage suffered during work. The employer may also be made liable for damage suffered by employees during company outings and trips.

If you want to find out more about other employment-related subjects, go to “Employment Law” in the website of Elfi Letselschade Advocaat.

When you suffer injury as a result of an accident at work, Elfi Letselschade Advocaat may help you claim damages from your employer.