Australian company to pay R5.3 million to family of employee murdered by boss


The landmark ruling may change how employers in Australia assess the safety of a home workspace.

An employer in Australia has been held liable for the death of an employee who was working from home. A landmark ruling in the country that may change how employers assess the safety of a home workspace saw the Court of Appeal uphold the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s decision to pay $450,000 (about R5.3 million) in death benefits to the dependent children of Michell Carrol.
In 2010, Michel Carroll, who was then an employee of S L Hill & Associates was killed by her partner and boss boss Steven Hill., who was found not guilty of murder on the grounds of mental illness. According to ABC News, Hill was a schizophrenia patient who suffered from a variety of paranoid delusions and was addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol. 

Because business operations took place from the family home, the Workers' Compensation Commission determined Ms Carroll died as a result of an injury arising in the course of her employment, a decision that was appealed by the Nominal Insurer. 

The Court of Appeal found that Ms Carroll's death occurred in the course of her employment, arose out of her employment, and that her employment was a substantial contributing factor to her death, based on the fact that she was  working from home, on-call from about 7:30 am. It was found that she was either performing employment related duties or on-call at the time she was killed.

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