Workplace safety is one of the top concerns of every employee. After all, no one wants to work at a place where their life and security are compromised. Every job is different, and hence, the risks associated with them differ as well. However, every employer must ensure their employees are well-protected, irrespective of the nature of their field. If they fail to do so, employees can use their rights to sue them.
Filing a lawsuit against employers is more common than you think. Workers sue their bosses for several reasons but recently, the most common cause of employee/employer lawsuits has been the rising workplace safety concerns. Read ahead to find out the top reasons why employers get sued over workplace safety conflicts.
1. Lawsuits Over Construction Injuries
Reports prove that construction workers face the most injuries as compared to workers in other fields. Some common injuries include falls, electrocutions, back injuries, burns, and getting run over. Most of these can be severely harmful – at times, potentially fatal too.
Construction workers file lawsuits against their employers for two reasons: employers fail to provide workers with proper protective equipment and take no responsibility. Second, when the employer denied the worker’s compensation claim. Today, several workers in the construction industry develop mesothelioma (a form of lung cancer caused by manufacturing asbestos-containing products). These patients can pursue legal action to gain financial compensation through a settlement.
A worker’s compensation package guarantees indemnification for a worker’s loss or harm, primarily through the payment of lost wages and medical bills. However, what to expect, what to expect after you file a lawsuit depends on the extent and cause of your injury. Usually, a plaintiff lawsuit can recover damages like unpaid salaries, external expenses, and loss of employment. On the other hand, you can only recover punitive damages in extreme cases like a hazardous chemical leak.
2. Lawsuits Because Of Coronavirus
The Covid-19 Pandemic has altered operations in nearly all aspects of our lives, and workplaces are no different. The modifications in office policies and the closure of businesses have left many employees jobless, confused, and frustrated. The situation worsens when employers fail to consider employees’ safety. It forces employees to sue their employers. Again, employees are allowed to sue their employers for two reasons; unlawful employer behavior concerning workplace safety or violation of the newly created legal rights due to the pandemic.
3. Inadequate Safety For Healthcare Workers
The term ‘Personal protective equipment (PPE)’ has become quite popular since the spread of COVID-19. However, healthcare workers have been using PPEs for quite a long time. A standard PPE kit includes a protective face shield, gown, gloves, shoe covers, eye protection, and respirators. These are essential equipment for healthcare workers, especially emergency medical service professionals, military health professionals, and nurses working in psychiatric wards. Suppose an employer/hospital fails to provide medical professionals with the correct protective equipment. In that case, employees can rightfully sue them.
However, the laws against failure of providing PPEs (especially for doctors treating COVID patients) are limited. Hence, filing a lawsuit against your workplace can be challenging. Nevertheless, it is achievable. Suppose an employee has sufficient evidence about his/her safety being at risk due to employer negligence. In that case, they can take the case to court. Healthcare workers can also sue employers over a public nuisance, i.e., when hospitals and other medical facilities fail to provide essential protection and endangers a surrounding community.
4. Worker’s Safety In The Logistics Field
It might sound odd adding logistics to the list, but did you know that most common fatal accidents happen because of transportation incidents? Reports show that forklift accidents result in thousands of injuries every year. Having high-quality safety measures in logistics operations is imperative. Employers might have to face many lawsuits if they fail to prevent transportation and warehouse accidents.
A few reasons why employees might sue their employer in the logistic field are:
- Employers exposing employees to hazardous materials despite knowing its harm
- When employees contract respiratory diseases because employers fail to install proper ventilation in the warehouse
- When employers do not provide employees with adequate self-protective equipment
- When employers fail to take accountability for accidents that occurred because of their gross negligence
Workplace safety is a serious issue, and you should not ignore it at any cost. Many people might feel frightened to act against their bosses in fear of losing their jobs or retaliation by employers. Or some might not want to get involved in a legal mess. But remember, no job is more significant than your own life. Moreover, as an employee, it is your responsibility to know your legal rights and act upon them when required. However, adhering to wrongful accusations against your employer might ruin your career to a greater extent.