Employer responsible for worker's suicide

03 Mar 2008

A landmark ruling from the House of Lords means all employers could now be liable if one of their workers commits suicide.

Maintenance engineer Thomas Carr killed himself six years ago after an industrial accident while working at manufacturing firm IBC Vehicles in Luton, Bedfordshire.

 This week the House of Lords unanimously decided that Carr’s depression led to his death, thereby upholding a 2006 Court of Appeal judgement that the company was responsible.

 The firm had unsuccessfully tried to fight the decision after admitting responsibility for the accident, but not Carr's suicide.

 His widow, represented by Rowley Ashworth solicitors, will be awarded compensation for pain and suffering. A figure of £688,000 has been put forward, but the final figure is yet to be agreed.

 “It is in no way unfair to hold the employer responsible for this dire consequence of its breach of duty,” said Lord Bingham.

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