£300,000 Christmas Party compensation case dismissed

A charity worker has lost a £300,000 compensation claim she filed for back injuries she sustained after she was lifted up and subsequently dropped at a workplace Christmas party.

The High Court ruled a payout in such circumstances could be seen as “health and safety gone mad” and could discourage employers from planning events for their staff. The employee in this case sued her employer – a charity –   after suffering “devastating” back injuries she claims were sustained after she was “manhandled” at the Christmas party.  She claimed that her employer was responsible for the behaviour of the employer who lifted her on the dance floor, who was intoxicated at the party. The employee’s lawyer said that the behaviour of the colleague “gave rise to a duty on the part of the employer to intervene”.

The tribunal heard that the employee was on the dance floor when her colleague attempted to lift her off the ground. In doing so, he lost his balance and dropped her, resulting in her sustaining a serious back injury.  The employee was unable to return to work because of her injury in the six months following the incident.

The court ruled that she had no grounds to claim against her employer on the basis of negligence or vicarious liability because the accident was not reasonably foreseeable.

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