Workplaces need to be safe and comfortable for everyone in the office, work site, or store. Yet accidents caused by the employer’s negligence can occur. These accidents can create minor and serious injuries to both workers and customers.
Most workplace negligence claims will stem from an unsafe or hazardous environment that should be prevented. It may deal with faulty equipment, dangerous floor surfaces, or not adequately maintaining the working environment. While this scenario is one of the most common reasons that people will file workers compensation claims or a lawsuit against the employer, there are a range of other workplace negligence situations where you may have a case against the employer.
Negligence Due to Hiring Practices
Employers are obligated to screen every new candidate for an open job position to ensure the person is capable and right for the job. Yet background screenings must also take into account the candidate’s previous behaviors at other workplaces that could make them a danger to their new fellow employees or customers.
You may be able to show that the employer was negligent about finding out necessary information about the candidate. This information may involve bullying, sexual harassment or violence claims made at previous places of employment which lead to the person being fired.
Negligence Due to Failing to Implement Corrective Actions
Some employers are aware that something wrong is happening between their employees or with interactions between a specific employee and their customers. Yet the employer may not do anything about the issue, even when it is reported by other workers or customers.
The employer can be held accountable for knowing about the claims but not doing anything because they think it will all be hashed out from the employee’s end. This problem is also considered workplace negligence if the employer refuses to implement corrective actions toward problem employees, and the lack of those corrective actions causes the employee to harm other workers or customers.
In a January 2016 case in Victoria, Australia, an employee alleged that she underwent sexual harassment, bullying and abuse from subcontractors and coworkers at a construction company. When she brought up the issue with her supervisor, the supervisor laughed at her. They failed to take corrective action when the problem was brought up. The company admitted to negligence during the Supreme Court trial. The employee was awarded $1.3 million in compensation for damages from pain and suffering, as well as damages based on past economic loss and future economic loss. The Court also awarded her $380,00 for general damages.
Negligence Due to Inadequate Training
Many workers receive training so they can perform their job at required level of productivity and care. However, due to lack of resources, training materials, personal experience, or coaching, the employer may not provide an adequate level of training to the worker to perform specific tasks.
If the employee, while performing his job, causes a harmful act to customers, the general public, other employees, or to themselves, the employer can be held liable for workplace negligence. The employer must always ensure that a worker has been properly trained and is supervised to prevent that employee from harming others.
Negligence Due to Defective Products, Toxic Substances, and Malfunctioning Equipment
In addition to ensuring employees are capable of performing their tasks while interacting with other workers or customers at a professional level, the employer needs to make sure the workplace environment does not contain hazards that can hurt anyone.
If the employer knows that the worker is using a defective product or toxic substance, or insists that the worker uses the defective product or substance, they can be held liable for workplace negligence. The same circumstance is also true if the employer fails to properly maintain equipment or refuses to repair faulty equipment that they know could cause harm to employees, yet insists that the workers should continue to use it to complete their jobs.
What to Do If Experiencing Workplace Negligence
If you have experienced harm due to your employer’s negligence in the workplace, you may be able to file a claim against the employer as well as receive workers compensation. The best way to determine if you have been a victim of workplace negligence is to consult with a work attorney. The attorney can gather your information and see if you have a worker’s compensation case as well as a personal injury case against your employer.
Make sure to always record or document workplace events that led to the harmful act or injury. Then contact an attorney immediately to discuss the situation. With the gathered evidence, the attorney can make a solid case on your behalf. For more information about workplace negligence and whether you can collect restitution, contact Kaire & Heffernan, LLC. We can help protect your rights.