The Supreme Court recovered from the employer non-pecuniary damage in the amount of UAH 80,000 in favor of the mother of an employee who died as a result of an accident at work.
In the Judgment of 14.06.2021 in case № 235/3191/19 the Court concluded that the fault of the employee does not affect the obligation to compensate non-pecuniary damage, but is important in determining the amount of such compensation.
With this decision, the Supreme Court answered several questions at once, which may be of interest to both employees and employers.
- When is the employer obliged to compensate the moral damage to the employee?
The Labor Code stipulates that a violation of an employee's rights in the field of labor relations entails an employer's obligation to compensate for moral damage if such violation leads to moral suffering, loss of normal life ties or requires additional efforts to organize his life.
The right to safe working and living conditions is one of the basic rights guaranteed to every employee.
In this case, the employer undertakes to ensure the exercise of such a right to the employee.
He must organize the workplace, living conditions, safety of equipment and reliability of equipment so as to minimize any risk of accidents at work.
If it is established that the employer has violated safety requirements, he will be obliged to compensate the moral damage to the employee or his relatives in the event of his death.
For example, in this case, the employee was a sales agent who, in the course of his duties, was involved in an accident in which he died.
He used his own car for work purposes, on the basis of an agreement with the employer. However, the Court noted that, although the employer did not own the source of the danger and risk that led to the employee's death, he had authorized the vehicle to use the vehicle and was therefore obliged to monitor the safe operation of the vehicle.
- Does the guilt of the employee in violation of his rights matter?
The Supreme Court concluded that the guilty actions of the deceased could not be grounds for refusing to satisfy the claim for compensation for non-pecuniary damage caused by the death of a person from an accident at work.
At the same time, such actions of the deceased must be taken into account when determining the amount of non-pecuniary damage.
In this case, the employee violated the Traffic Rules of Ukraine, and during the investigation it was established that the employee had the technical ability to prevent an accident, but did not do so, which entails criminal liability.
This fact was not taken into account by the Court in deciding whether to award compensation to the employee's mother.
- What affects the amount of moral compensation?
But to reduce the amount of non-pecuniary damage, the guilty actions of the deceased are already important.
In addition, other factors that are taken into account when determining the amount of non-pecuniary damage are:
the nature and extent of the plaintiff's suffering, taking into account their duration and severity;
irreversibility of the loss connected with the death which has occurred owing to an accident at work;
principles of reasonableness, proportionality and fairness;
balance of interests of the parties;
circumstances of a specific situation;
proportionality to a legitimate goal.
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