Bitten by a dog while at work? Your employer could be liable
The lockdown saw a boom in people buying a new pet, particularly dogs. These new “lockdown puppies” have provided much needed companionship to those feeling isolated.
The working from home requirements allowed these new pets to spend lots of time with their owners and settle into their new homes. But as lockdown eased many people began returning to the workplace with their dogs in tow, and this has resulted in an increase in the number of dog bites occurring in the workplace.
As a nation of dog lovers it seems natural for employers and employees alike to embrace a more relaxed approach to people taking their dogs to work. However it must be remembered that dogs can become nervous of new environments and people. If a dog feels anxious or scared then it can result in them biting someone.
Not only have we seen a significant rise in the number of cases of dogs biting people at work, but we have also noticed an alarming trend in insurance companies rejecting claims because policies specifically exclude cover where an injury occurs in the workplace. This means that the employer then becomes personally liable to pay the victim compensation.
Employers should remember that they owe visitors and employees a legal duty of care. If they allow employees to bring dogs into work and a dog then bites someone then they could be legally liable and required to pay the injured person compensation.
So, as we welcome dogs into the workplace in unprecedented numbers, employers are advised to ensure they have the correct insurance cover in place just in case the unexpected happens.