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Employer liability

Duty care for a safe and healthy work environment

An employer must ensure a safe and healthy working environment. If an employee suffers damage during work, the employer is liable for this damage, unless the employer can prove that he has not violated his duty of care.

Duty of care of the employer

The employer has a duty of care. This means that he must ensure that the employee cannot suffer any damage during the performance of his work. This duty of care goes as far as can reasonably be demanded of the employer, but it does not provide an absolute guarantee. If it is established that the employer has fulfilled his duty of care, he is not liable for the employee’s damage. Exactly what can be demanded of an employer depends on the specific circumstances. The lower limit is that the employer must in any case comply with the employment conditions legislation. If the employer has violated this legislation, in principle, he is liable for the employee’s damages.

Employee damage

The employee must prove that he has suffered damage in the performance of his duties. This can be physical, but also psychological damage. In principle, the employer is not liable if the employee has suffered damage outside the work situation.

Some disorders can have multiple causes, such as a burn out or rsi. In that case, the employee must prove that this disorder may have been caused by the job and the employer can be liable for a part of the employee’s damage.

Intent or deliberate recklessness

The employer is not liable for the employee’s damage if the damage was caused by intent or deliberate recklessness of the employee. This exception only applies if, immediately prior to the accident, the employee was aware that he should have refrained from engaging in such conduct, because of the likelihood of that accident. Therefore, this does not happen very often.

Liability in other situations

If an employee is hired by a third party, the hirer and the employer are liable for the damage incurred by the employee. This occurs, for example, in the case of secondment and deployment.

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