Should employer pay for personal equipment damaged at work?

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  • Undervalued
    Undervalued Posts: 8,844 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    stork wrote: »
    It would be strange indeed if a technician did not owe a duty of care to those around -- including students, colleagues and members of the public. Quite how far that duty extends is a matter for debate, but I don't see any good policy reason not to extend it to taking reasonable care not to damage those persons' property.

    I haven't argued that the school has a primary duty of care in this situation -- the school's liability would arise vicariously through their position as employer (in relation to negligence occurring in the course of an employee being an employee).

    A duty of care can even exist between complete strangers. If I cause an accident of some sort in the street, and it injures a stranger or damages their property, and even if this is not in the course of being a road user (where the duty is clearly established), I'd be at risk of being found liable for the injury/damage.

    I don't disagree with any of the practical advice about insurance, union membership and trying to avoid taking private property on school premises, but I do take issue with the argument that you don't owe a duty of care to your colleagues in respect of their belongings. And of course, many employees take their most valuable piece of moveable property, namely a motor vehicle, onto an employer's premises every day. If a colleague damages it there, why shouldn't they be held liable?

    I totally agree.

    I really don't buy the argument, that others are making, that no duty of care exists between fellow employees.

    We don't know the full circumstances and it may well be that there has been contributory negligence. This might reduce the liability, maybe even to zero depending on the facts of this particular incident.

    It could also be that something the school did (or didn't do) made this "accident" more likely to happen. If so, then they also could be partly liable.
  • The duty owed from employee to employee is to follow health and safety guidelines for example. It isn't to the same level as the automatically imputed duty of care between e.g. an employer and employee.

    There is no obligation on employers to cover this kind of loss unless there are exceptional circumstances of some kind - for example, they have paid out on various claims previously and it has become an implied term of the contract, or custom and practice as part of the PGCE placement. That means the student will end up pursuing the employee and establishing that there was a duty of care to the level required for a negligence claim, as well as all the other aspects of such a claim.
  • stork_2
    stork_2 Posts: 51 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    The existence of a well-established duty of care in respect of health and safety does not preclude there also being other duties of care. Employers are generally liable for any negligence by an employee in the course of their employment.
  • stork_2
    stork_2 Posts: 51 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    This article sums it up quite nicely.

    There is no general stand-alone liability on an employer just because a loss occurs at the workplace. There is, however, a general liability for 'wrongful acts committed by their employees carried out in the course of employment'. Whilst this probably wouldn't include theft or malicious damage by an employee, it would include an accident caused by their negligence.
  • If the school has an insurance policy for loss/theft/breakage of personal items surely this incident will be covered by that policy. Or would your personal home contents insurance cover it, depending on the clause relating to loss/theft/breakage outside the home.

    Otherwise, I suspect you'll be left hanging in the wind waiting for a public body to compensate you, particularly if the school already provides IT equipment for staff to fulfil their responsibilities.
  • bylromarha wrote: »
    Welcome to the world of teaching. I spend a small fortune day in day out on my class.

    If you didn't want your Mac book broken, then you shouldn't have taken it into school. Schools don't insure your personal equipment. School will have provided you with the equipment needed to do the job - even if it was harder to use/more long winded.

    If you were using it on a park bench, you wouldn't expect someone who knocked it as they walked past to pay for a cracked screen. No different in school.

    Yes I would expect someone who broke it on a park bench to pay actually - their carelessness has left me out of pocket otherwise! Why should they not pay?!
  • Have you asked the technician who broke it, to pay for it? If not, why not?! That's the person that broke it. Was it broken, partially due to how it was left? ie is your partner partially to blame - was it left near an edge or something and that's how it fell?
    You have to be fair in this and admit blame if it's due.
  • psouth
    psouth Posts: 23 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Anniversary First Post
    edited 15 October 2014 at 7:11PM
    Unfortunately, the school won't/can't pay. Get used to it if you're a teacher. The Union may cover it but usually only if it is deliberate damage by a pupil. Learn from this lesson and make sure you have adequate personal insurance or keep "precious" objects at home.

    The same applies to clothing - I have had clothes ripped off me, in the past, and there is no recompense. If I choose to wear expensive clothes, my loss!
  • jap200
    jap200 Posts: 2,033 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker Xmas Saver!
    It could be worse - not really relevant to this question, but my sister who is a primary school teacher just had her arm broken when a pupil in her class kicked her!
  • Which is completely irrelevant!

    It was relevant enough for the OP to mention it.
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