With more employees working from home around Australia and the world, the nature of the workplace in the public imagination has changed. One of the most stark legal examples of this fact comes from 2010 – long before the age of COVID-19 lockdowns. The end of a long appeals process following a murder committed 10 years ago has set a new precedent: For purposes of workers' compensation, risk at home is workplace risk when people work remotely.
Crikey reported that when the New South Wales Court of Appeal upheld the workers' compensation claim from the children of Michel Carroll, it set a new standard for what counts as a workplace incident. Carroll was murdered by Steven Hill, her co-worker and de facto partner. Hill was found not guilty due to mental illness, and the delusions leading to the killing were linked to their work. With that direct connection established between the death and business, the workers' compensation claim was upheld.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Hayley Foster, chief executive of Women's Safety NSW, has welcomed the fact that employers will now have to think more seriously about the risk of domestic violence and abuse affecting their workers. With the breakdown of some divisions between workplace matters and personal issues, companies will be incentivised to pay attention to issues at home and offer support. Considering the increasing amount of employees working from home, it's unsurprising that such a reckoning has had to take place.
Foster added that during the pandemic, many women have been made to work from home in abusive situations. When their employers have a direct responsibility to help them escape from these situations, there will hopefully be better options available to these women.
If you or a member of your family has suffered work-related harm during the pandemic or before it, you may be eligible to make a workers' compensation claim. As the recent NSW judgement demonstrates, the bounds of what situations are eligible for workers' compensation are expanding to reflect the flexible and complex nature of the modern, dispersed workforce.
To determine whether your case is likely to succeed and give yourself the best possible chance of receiving compensation, you can turn to legal experts such as the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners. With over 35 years of experience in personal injury law, we can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Call 1 800 004 and 878 or email your enquiry.