Archives: Health & Safety

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Thriving at Work – Part 2

As we mentioned in our previous blog, the Farmer/ Stephenson “Thriving at Work” Report has made a number of recommendations as to steps that businesses, the public sector and the Government can take to increase mental health and wellbeing within the workplace, with the aim not only of increasing the standard of mental health but … Continue Reading

It’s Time to Update Your Workplace Safety Program to Meet OSHA’s New Anti-Retaliation Guidelines

On January 13, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued its latest guidelines for employers to help them keep their workplaces “free of retaliation, including retaliation against employees who engage in activity protected under the 22 whistleblower laws” that OSHA enforces.  While adoption of OSHA’s recommendations is not mandatory, they are intended to … Continue Reading

OSHA to Employers: No Gagging Whistleblowers!

On September 9, 2016, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published new guidelines for approving settlements between employers and employees in whistleblower cases to ensure that those agreements do not contain terms that could be interpreted to restrict future whistleblowing. OSHA reviews settlements between employees and employers to ensure that they are … Continue Reading

Two Timing Employee Caught in the Act – Uber Unfortunate!

An employee of West Australian Newspapers Limited (WAN) who moonlighted for Uber was caught in the act when, one Saturday night, he picked up a WAN manager. Despite being well and truly busted, the employee (who worked night shifts as WAN’s newspaper machinist) denied having any affiliation with Uber, saying that his wife had the … Continue Reading

“A descent into Hell, but less interesting” – can you sue for being bored at work?

The Guardian Online reports the case of Paris resident M. Frederic Desnard last week. He is claiming over £280,000 in compensation for a nervous breakdown allegedly caused by his managerial job at French perfumiers Interparfum.  However, no tale of excessive pressure and punishing working hours, this one.  Instead, M.Desnard claims that his job was so … Continue Reading

French Supreme Court decides that failure to display workplace rules rendered dismissal unfair

A recent case before the French Supreme Court acts as a stark warning to employers of the importance of complying with the requirements in the French Labour Code to display their internal rules in the workplace. After the discovery of empty bottles of alcohol in the employees’ changing room, an employer required one of its … Continue Reading

Acas issues guidance on “legal highs” in the workplace

Don’t trouble yourself with this. It’s only a page long and the messages for employers are shorter still:- (i)         many “legal highs” are actually illegal, but the distinction is broadly irrelevant for workplace purposes.  You should include them as barred under your drugs and alcohol policy, but focus on their impact on the employee’s behaviours … Continue Reading

Managers in Australia beware! – the price of seniority may be personal liability

Health and safety laws rolled out around Australia since 2012 have imposed a new positive duty on company officers to exercise due diligence to ensure their “person conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBU – usually the corporate employer) is compliant. The term “officer” extends beyond the PCBU’s executives, directors and secretaries to any person who: … Continue Reading

How a legal compliance audit reduced OSH penalties

A recent decision in the South Australian Industrial Relations Court has shown that an occupational safety and health (OSH) legislative compliance audit can significantly reduce the penalty imposed following an OSH incident by demonstrating a commitment to improve safety. In Boland v Trading Metals Pty Ltd [2015] SAIRC 30, the respondent was charged with breaching … Continue Reading

Mental health in the City workplace – how are you doing?

No job within the Square Mile is immune from its own stresses or strains.  As the City of London Corporation’s Business Healthy blog notes (https://www.businesshealthy.org/blog/), the recent economic climate has exacerbated these through the invariable requirement that businesses reduce their cost base without adversely affecting their profits.  Undoubtedly, this drive to do more with less … Continue Reading

UK sewer worker kicks up stink over health and safety dismissal

In Newbound –v- Thames Water the Court of Appeal has recently upheld the ruling of the Employment Tribunal that Mr Newbound had been unfairly dismissed for gross misconduct despite his breaching company health and safety rules. The case highlights the difficulties faced by employers trying to enforce compliance with new health and safety procedures, but … Continue Reading

Ruby waxes lyrical (but misguided) on mental health disclosures

Ruby Wax is a well-known and respected campaigner for mental health issues.  Imagine my surprise, therefore, to open my Times Online (behind a paywall) this week to the headline “Don’t tell your boss if you’re mentally ill, Ruby Wax advises“. I was sure that this was the Times Online taking a quotation out of context to … Continue Reading

Is the UK’s Fit for Work scheme fit for purpose?

Time for a quick look at the Guidance issued by the Department of Work & Pensions on the new Fit for Work (FfW) Scheme https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fit-for-work-guidance. There are two ways of looking at this.  First, that the Guidance is a gallant attempt to explain in simple terms how this Scheme may (I use the word advisedly) … Continue Reading

Private lives v saving lives: privacy intrusions of little consequence when drug testing

There has been a long running battle in Australia about whether an employer, when testing for drug use, can ask employees to provide a urine sample. Many unions have resisted the introduction of urine testing, arguing that saliva testing is sufficient and, as such, the process of sampling urine is an unjustified invasion of privacy. … Continue Reading

UK High Court gives useful recap on liability for stress-induced psychiatric illness in the workplace (Part 3)

In the first two parts of this series (part 1, part 2) we looked at how the Courts still regard the 2002 judgment in Hatton –v- Sutherland as the definitive statement on the law for liability for stress-induced psychiatric injury in the workplace.  However, although still commanding respect in relation to breach of duty and … Continue Reading

UK High Court gives useful recap on liability for stress-induced psychiatric illness in the workplace (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this piece https://www.employmentlawworldview.com/uk-high-court-gives-useful-recap-on-liability-for-stress-induced-psychiatric-illness-in-the-workplace-part-1/ we considered the requirement of foreseeability as a condition of establishing an employer’s liability for stress-related psychiatric harm.  Here we look at the other main ingredient, a breach of duty by the employer. It is not enough that an employee’s illness is as a matter of medical fact … Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court says No ADA Violation In Denying Worker’s Request to Telecommute

From Lauren Kuley via Squire Patton Boggs’ Sixth Circuit Appellate Blog: On April 10, the Sixth Circuit issued a significant decision on telecommuting accommodations for disabled employees.  In EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., a divided en banc Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Ford on claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act by the Equal Employment Opportunity … Continue Reading

Finally the plight of pregnant workers across Australia is acknowledged – morning sickness is a recognised disability!

In the aftermath of International Womens’ Day, the history books were once again re-written when the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal classified a pregnant worker’s severe morning sickness as a disability under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic). Ms Bevilacqua was a full time Sales Consultant at a Telstra store up until October 2013 when … Continue Reading

UK High Court gives useful recap on liability for stress-induced psychiatric illness in the workplace (Part 1)

Every so often, there comes along a case which becomes the new baseline by which decisions in a particular field are made.  In relation to employer liability for psychiatric illness caused by workplace stress, that case is Hatton -v- Sutherland in 2002, still going strong after 13 years and most recently upheld by the High … Continue Reading
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