Employers Liable for Unfixed Workplace Hazards

December 26, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employers can be held liable for dangerous conditions on their premises if they don't eliminate the hazard in a reasonable amount of time, the California Supreme Court has ruled.

The ruling stems from the case of Ortega v. Kmart Corp, in which Richard Ortega was injured after he slipped in a puddle of milk in a Kmart store.

According to the court, injured plaintiffs have to prove store owners’ failure to act to eliminate the hazard that caused the injury, while jurors will resolve disputes on the facts of individual cases. The court added that a premium would be placed on proper maintenance by storeowners.

The court noted that owners should inspect their premises or take other proper action to judge its condition, and “if, by the exercise of reasonable care the owner would have discovered the condition, he is liable for failing to correct it,” the court ruled.

– Camilla Klein                                   editors@plansponsor.com