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Employers' liability: Employer not responsible for pub's rough customers

This report relates to 1 case(s)

Key points

In Harding v The Pub Estate Company Ltd [2005] EWCA (Civ) 553, the Court of Appeal holds:

  • The approach adopted by the Court of Appeal in Hartman v South Essex Mental Health and Community Care NHS Trust [2005] IRLR 293 is correct. The test is whether injury through stress at work, whether physical or psychiatric, to the particular employee was reasonably foreseeable in the light of what the employer knew, or ought to have known.
  • The county court judge had failed to analyse the evidence in sufficient detail to establish whether the circumstances were such as to put the employers on notice that there was a foreseeable risk that the employee would suffer a heart attack through stress at work.
  • The employer was not able to change the criminal and violent behaviour of the clientele or neighbourhood of the pub of which the employee was manager and, as he had not been able to show that he had put them on notice of risk to his health, no breach of duty by the employers could be shown.