All those who work from home will welcome the judgement
of the Australian Court in the case of Hargreaves. This will surely interest
many employees who work in IT industry who work from home.
The issue in Hargreaves case was whether an accident
while working from home can entitle an employee to compensation. On 21 August
2006 Ms Hargreaves fell down the stairs at home. She injured her left shoulder.
On 9 October 2006 she again fell down the stairs and again injured her
shoulder, this time requiring surgery. She later developed depression and
anxiety which she claimed was related to the physical injuries and her
inability to work. Telstra denied liability for the injuries on the basis that
the falls did not arise out of, or were not in the course of, her employment.
Ms Hargreaves was instructed by Telstra, her employees,
to lock the front door of her home while working. It was her claim that she
fell down while going to lock the front door after her son left for school. She
suffered psychiatric ailment to which the injury contributed.
The Tribunal noted that for an injury to have arisen out
of employment, it did not necessarily have to occur at work
. Hargreaves and Telstra Corporation Limited
 AATA 417 (17 June 2011)
The decision effectively blurs the distinction between
workplace and home. It may also give rise to more claims.
I have not heard any similar case decided in India. I
wonder what the decision would have been in our courts.