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Workers Need To Prove Their Employers Negligence

The Facts

If an accident is caused by the employer’s negligence, it is not sufficient to just show that the employer was negligent. It is also necessary to prove that the negligence caused the accident that injured the worker.

This was the case in Baillie v Donald Wayne Jackson & Victoria Point Sharks Sporting Club Inc [2015] QDC.

The worker was a security guard hired to provide security services to a club during a wedding reception.

He was injured when he was “king hit” by a wedding guest, which resulted in a fractured cheekbone and aggravated a preexisting adjustment disorder. The wedding guest was arrested and deemed too intoxicated to be questioned.

The worker alleged that he had pegged the wedding guest as a potential troublemaker, but did not see the guest throughout the night until immediately before the assault.

The employer and the club were sued by the worker for negligence. The worker alleged that both of them were negligent for employing only one security guard for a party that had about 150-200 people. He claimed that this was the standard for any other similar occasion and had their been a 2nd security guard, the incident may have been avoided.

The worker also claimed that the club was negligent for failing to cut off alcohol service to his attacker and that about 95% of the people in the club that night were drunk.

He also allegedly refused to go to work unless a second security guard was hired, and only consented because the employer begged him to.

The Evidence

McGill DCJ was not convinced by the evidence of the worker and his credibility.

The evidence showed that there was actually closer to only 100 patrons (including wedding guests) instead of the worker’s alleged claim of up to 200.

The bar tab during that night showed that there was not enough alcohol consumed to realistically intoxicate 80+ wedding guests to a significant degree.

There was also no evidence that the worker’s attacker was exhibiting any signs of gross intoxication or aggression prior to the attack. As a matter of fact, McGill DCJ found that when the worker first observed the wedding guest, he had decided that the guest was acting normally.

McGill DCJ also found that the worker had not refused to work unless a second security guard was hired. The evidence also showed that 2 security guards were not always hired whenever there was a wedding.

Judgment

McGill DCJ held that the employer was not negligent for allowing the worker to be alone. He also further held that even if they were negligent, it would not have prevented the attack, nor would it have prepared the worker from avoiding the attack.

He also held that the club was not negligent for failing to cut off the alcohol supplied to the wedding guest.

Conclusion

It is important for employers to make a serious risk assessment when it comes to the safety of their workers.

Failing to do so may open an employer up to potential liability if the worker is injured in an accident during work.

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