An employer who failed to instruct a worker on how to perform a relatively simple task, telling her only to “give it a go”, has been found negligent by the High Court in Australia.
Robyn Laybutt worked for a bakery and her team leader told her to reassemble a doughnut machine. After saying she didn’t know how, she was simply told to “just give it a go”. No further instructions or demonstrations were provided.
In trying to reassemble the machine, Laybutt injured her finger and arm.
The New South Wales District Court found the employer, Glover Gibbs, was negligent and awarded substantial damages. The firm won an appeal after a higher court said reassembling the machine was “a very simple process indeed “.
But the High Court agreed that telling her to “give it a go” was negligent and said denying instructions specifically sought was as bad as failing to act on a complaint about a defective system.