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Employer’s liability

Employer’s liability regulates the employer’s liability for damage suffered by an employee under various working conditions. An employer can take out liability insurance for this to cover damage. Two articles define the responsibilities of the employer and employee in the event of an accident. One article is employer’s liability, which is based on Article 7:658 of the Dutch Civil Code. The other article (7:611 of the Dutch Civil Code) deals with standard ‘good employment practices’. Safe working conditions are the key element.

Advice employer’s liability lawyer

We will explain what you, the employer, should pay attention to, with regard to employer’s liability and any risks you may run. We also explain why our lawyers advise you, the employer, to take out employer’s liability insurance.

Employer’s liability Article 7:658 of the Dutch Civil Code

The employer can be held liable for ensuring safety in the workplace. If an employee has suffered damage in the performance of his work, the employer is therefore liable for this. This is subject to the condition that the employer has failed to fulfil its duty of care to provide a safe workplace for the employee. In the event of an accident, the risk for the employer is high. However, this article does not give an absolute guarantee that the employer is liable for all accidents. A high level of safety in the working environment is expected, with safety instructions. If damage has occurred, the employee can hold the employer liable. In that case, the employee must prove the damage occurred during the performance of the work. There are 2 cases when the employer can evade his employer’s liability:

  1. if the employer proves compliance with the duty of care for safety, there is no employer’s liability.
  2. if the employer proves there is intent or deliberate recklessness on the part of the employee, there is no employer’s liability.

Experience shows that often the employee will succeed in holding the employer liable for damage suffered. The exception for intent or deliberate recklessness rarely occurs in practice and therefore plays a very minor role. Given the chance that a claim may be made against your employer’s liability, it is wise to take out liability insurance. If you need help and advice for this, ask our lawyers.

Good employment practices Article 7:611 of the Dutch Civil Code

The employer’s liability in this article relates to the ‘good employment practices’ standard. The difference with the other article lies mainly in the burden of proof. Accidents that did not happen in the workplace, but are work-related, for example. An employer is not able to issue safety instructions in all cases, since the risk was incurred outside the regular workplace. A condition for holding the employer liable is that the accident happened in a place or due to an action that is work-related. An accident on an outing also falls under this employer’s liability. To hold the employer liable, the employee must prove the employer has been remiss. As an employer, you can then be held liable in accordance with the ‘good employment practices’ standard for not having taken out employer’s liability insurance. So if something still happens despite you having looked after your employee well and having taken safety into account, you can be held liable as an employer. We therefore advise you to take out liability insurance to limit your risk.

Liability commuting between home and work

As you can see, as an employer, you run a great risk and there is a large safety net for the employee to hold the employer liable. Safety and safety instructions cannot be taken into account in all cases. Some clear rules of thumb have been agreed on with regard to traffic conditions.

  1. As an employer, you are not liable in the event of damage caused purely and simply during commuting between home and work.
  2. You are, however, liable for damage suffered during travelling between one workplace and another.

Pure and simple commuting between home and work is really just that when it does not involve any work-related activities. So carpooling or dropping off a package does not fall under pure commuting between home and work.

Employer’s liability for the self-employed

The self-employed are increasingly deployed these days and therefore run the risk of damage. Employer’s liability is also relevant for the self-employed. It is conditional on the activities of the self-employed being the same as the normal business activities (i.e. of permanent employees within the company). An employer may therefore only be held liable for those activities for which the employer already provides safety. The employer has a duty of care for the usual business activities. The rights of a self-employed person can therefore be limited when the self-employed person is deployed for other types of work. Hire a lawyer to avoid any surprises. Our lawyers have a lot of experience with companies and employers and take your interests into account. Contact us on +31(0) 205 210 130 or send us an e-mail and find out more about our services.

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