Report of Dirk Jan Rutgers’ participation in Spring European Employment Summit in Dublin

20 March 2024

Dirk Jan Rutgers participated as Dutch expert employment law panelist in the recent Spring European Employment Summit in Dublin on 7 March 2024. This is an initiative of the organization International Employment Lawyer (IEL). Rutgers & Posch’ employment team is a member of the IEL.

The subject of this panel’s session in which also the UK, Finland and Austria were represented was about creating healthier, safer workplaces. Workplace health and safety has evolved beyond trips, slips, falls and toxic exposure to increasingly include the psychological harm of modern working environments. Therefore, employers must be ever cognizant of the injuries that may befall workers, especially in the online world where graphic content can result in psychological trauma. The session considered the most prevalent occupational and mental health diseases trending across Europe, and how employers can prevent, or at least mitigate, their risk in the workplace.

The international panel acknowledged there are many relatively small, easy measures that can improve the mental health and wellbeing of employees. Even in jurisdictions yet to embrace a right to disconnect, employers should consider polices on out-of-hours communications and explore whether new AI tools can minimize stress. To mitigate the risk of causing or exacerbating mental ill-health, firms were warned against tick-box risk assessments. This is especially important in remote working arrangements where home workers may end up out of mind, out of sight.

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