Visitor Question

Are there Legal or Ethical Guidelines for Reporting Dangerous Conditions?

Submitted By: Linder (Columbus, MS)

My supervisor fell down a flight of stairs at work and was injured. I am an employee in the building and I knew the stairs needed fixing, but I did not report it.

Have I broken any legal or ethical guidelines by not reporting it to the maintenance manager? If so, is there anything I can do to legally protect myself? Thank you for explaining this issue.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Linder,

Depending on your employee status you may have some small degree of liability. But that liability probably won’t include the breaking of “legal or ethical” guidelines. The liability might only include a breach of your employment duties.

If as part of your employment duties you were to report to your superiors a stairway which was in need of repairs and, knowing this one was in need failed to do so, you may run into some disciplinary problems with your employer. Those might include, but not be limited to, reprimand, suspension, fine, or even termination.

But even if your duty was to report the stair’s repair needs and, failing to do so your supervisor slipped and was injured, you will not be personally liable for his or her injuries. With that said, you really don’t have any need to legally protect yourself. There isn’t anything to protect yourself from.

Otherwise if you knew the stairs needed repairs but wasn’t bound by any employment duty to notify someone of the need for such repairs (check your employment contract to verify), then your only infraction might be your personal ethical guidelines.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 23, 2012

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