Employers can be held responsible for damages if their staff suffer from burnout, a court in Heerlen ruled on Tuesday. The court agreed that a service engineer was entitled to compensation after going off sick with burnout. The amount of damages has not yet been agreed.
The FNV’s work-related injury unit, Bureau Beroepsziekten, said the ruling was a warning for other employers. The man in question was on call-out evenings and nights – but was also expected to work during the day, spokesman Jan Warning said. He said the employer was not planning to appeal against the ruling.
It is not the first time employers have paid damages for burnout. Over four years ago, a woman who was forced to do so much overtime that she collapsed was paid €80,000 in compensation by her employer. ‘But that was an out-of-court settlement and this is an actual ruling,’ Warning said.
Employers organisation VNO-NCW said more cases were pending and each one needed to be individually assessed. The NOS reports that around 700,000 people in the Netherlands suffer from symptoms of burnout.
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