Looking after children can be a full time job.

Looking after staff can be just as challenging, and not always as rewarding.

For a start, there’s the recruitment process.  Most of us don’t get to pick our children, but you can agonise for days over decisions to take on staff, how much to offer them, what terms should go in their contracts etc.

Once they’re hired, then the fun and games really starts.

You’ve got to train them, supervise them, monitor them and motivate them.  Oh and you’ve got to pay them too and deal with the fall out if they fall ill, fall pregnant or fall for someone else and move on.

Falling (or avoiding falls) can be a big part of an employer’s responsibility.  Making sure that they don’t fall and hurt themselves, or anyone else.  You probably already know that an employer can also be held vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of their staff!

You also probably all know that you have to be accommodating in relation to your staff’s medical position.  If they have a disability, the employer must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate it, and if you were in some way the cause of the disability, or have contributed to it in some way, you are probably liable to them for compensation.

What you may not know, is that this isn’t limited to physical disabilities but covers mental health issues as well.  For example, if an employee has a stress related illness, either caused by pressure at work, or exacerbated by that pressure, they can sue their employer in the same way as if they’d fallen at work and broken a limb.  The difficulty, of course, is that mental health issues may not be nearly as obvious as physical issues, and can often be hidden or masked, and can need much more in terms of treatment than a sticking plaster and lollipop.  However, your obligations are the same whether the ailment is physical or mental and you can be sued in much the same way.

If you’re an employer and some or all of this is making wobble more than a jelly at a birthday party, then drop me a line and we’ll catch up over tea and ice cream, or something more grown up.  I can explain what the risks are, but more importantly, I can tell you how to avoid them.

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  The full service law firm.  Not nearly as scary as we look.