WHAT’S COVERED BY EMPLOYERS LIABILITY INSURANCE?
The following are covered by Employers Liability Insurance:
- Cover for claims made against you if an employee's killed, injured or contracts an illness or disease whilst working for you in connection with your business.
- Employers Liability Insurance also covers you for the claimant's costs and expenses plus the cost of your legal representation at a Coroner's Enquiry, and in any Court proceedings made
against you by an employee.
- Costs and expenses incurred in the defence of a prosecution relating to the welfare of employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This is also extended to cover the
Education (Work Experience) Act 1973.
RISKS OF FAILING TO ARRANGE EMPLOYERS LIABILITY INSURANCE
Failure to arrange Employers Liability Insurance could lead to one or all of the following:
- You could lose your business: a liability claim against your business could be huge and could lead to damages of millions of pounds being awarded against you. For most businesses this
would spell financial ruin.
- You could also be held personally liable and even face criminal charges if you are found to have acted negligently.
- You risk being fined up to £2,500 for each day that you do not have the appropriate insurance by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
WHAT’S AN EMPLOYEE?
In general, you need Employers Liability Insurance for someone who works for you if:
- You deduct national insurance and income tax from the money you pay them.
- You have the right to control where and when they work and how they do it.
- You supply most materials and equipment.
- You have a right to any profit your workers make although you may choose to share this with them through commission, performancepay or shares in the company. Similarly, you will be
responsible for any losses.
- You require that person only to deliver the service and they cannot employ a substitute if they are unable to do the work.
- They are treated in the same way as other employees, for example, if they do the same work under the same conditions as someone you employ.
It may be on a part-time basis, a full-time employee, students on work experience courses, a self- employed sub-contractor, a person working on a trial basis and even voluntary workers. All are
technically employed by you, because they are under your instruction and working for you.
WHO NEEDS EMPLOYERS LIABILITY INSURANCE?
Employers Liability Insurance became a legal requirement in 1972 as a direct result of the 1969 Employers Liability Act. The current minimum legal requirement is £5m of cover against
bodily injury, illness or disease sustained in the course of employment.
EMPLOYERS LIABILITY INSURANCE CLAIMS EXAMPLES
SEX TALK COSTS COMPANY
A woman made redundant after complaining that she was subjected to sexual harassment by her employers has been awarded substantial damages. The case centred on the use of sexually explicit language
and comments with a sexual innuendo. The insured did not dispute the majority of the allegations and their only defence was that until recently, she had gone along with this conduct willingly. The
claim was settled for £12,000 plus costs.
COURTS IMPOSE RETROSPECTIVE TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT
An employee who quit after being asked to re-locate, despite having a mobility clause expressly stated in his contract of employment, has been successful in suing his former employer for constructive
dismissal. The employee was asked to move from Leeds to Birmingham with immediate effect. He requested that this was delayed for 3 months on the grounds that his wife was ill at the time. The
employer refused this request and the employee quit and claimed to have been constructively dismissed. The court upheld his claim stating that the mobility clause had been inappropriately
exercised. UK Courts often seek to do “justice” to contractual terms by implying conditions where there might previously have been none. This is an obvious risk to employers.
OFFICE PARTIES CONSIDERED “WORK” BY COURTS
A female employee subjected to offensive remarks and fondling at an office party has been successful in a liability case against her employer. Despite the party being held out of office hours and
away from office premises, the court held the employer liable, as the party was something that the employee was expected to attend and therefore it was an element of office life.
“WHISTLEBLOWER” AWARDED £293,000
An accountant sacked for gross misconduct after warning his directors that his former chief executive had claimed £371,000 in cash advances and expenses without receipts has been awarded substantial
damages. The Public Interest Disclosures Act allows "whistleblowers" to recover more than the normal £50,000 limit, and as suchhe was awarded £293,000 compensation for unfair dismissal.
DINNER LADIES AWARDED £4,000,000
A class action brought by a group of dinner ladies was successful on the grounds that they were being paid 40% less than male refuse collectors and ground workers. They were awarded £4,000,000 for
DISCRIMINATION EMPLOYEE AWARDED £2,000,000
The former head of British operations for a Norwegian oil company was awarded compensation for race discrimination and unfair dismissal two years after losing his job to a Norwegian who was less well