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Employment law is relevant if you are in an employer/employee relationship with another person. Your rights and duties are likely to arise from the employment contract, but common law may also be relevant when interpreting the terms of the contract. Employment law may fall under the categories of both contract law and tort law. Common employment disputes involve unlawful dismissal and compensation for workplace injuries.
John works as a car mechanic. One day, in the middle of fixing a car, an equipment fell on his hand and injured his fingers, effectively making it impossible to continue the repair work that he specialises in, which requires precise handiwork. When he immediately told his employer about the situation, his employer said “you don’t deserve a single cent from me” and fired him on the spot.
In this case, John may claim for compensation for workplace injuries and sue his employer for unlawful dismissal. In general, employers are liable for an employee’s injury as a result of an accident arising out of and in the course of employment even if the employee might have committed acts of faults or negligence when the accident occurred, although the employee’s fault (contributory negligence) may be a relevant factor when deciding the amount of compensation. An employer is not liable to pay compensation only in limited circumstances, such as the injury does not result in permanent incapacity or incapacitate the employee from earning full wages at his normal work, or the injury is a deliberate self-injury.
However, the employer shall pay the injured employee, during the period of temporary incapacity, periodical payments at the rate of four-fifths of the difference between the employee’s monthly earnings at the time of the accident and his monthly earnings during the period of temporary incapacity.
Moreover, under section 48 of the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance, an employer cannot fire an employee due to their incapacity arising from a workplace injury unless he/she obtains consent from the Commissioner of Labour, or he/she has entered into an agreement with the employee, or the Employees’ Compensation Board has issued a certificate of assessment to the injured employee, the employer and the Commissioner of Labour, whichever occurs first. Read this article for a case example detailing the importance of timely action after suffering a workplace injury.
You may also refer to A Concise Guide to the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance published by the Labour Department here for further information.
Disclaimer: The article is for reference only and should not be construed or relied on as legal advice in whatsoever manner. Please engage a solicitor to seek formal legal advice. LegalClarus does not provide legal advice.