Liability concerns the obligation to bear the negative consequences of a certain event: i.e. to pay compensation.
Internship in the Netherlands
Under Dutch law, a company where an intern is doing an internship is liable for any damage or injury incurred during the performance of the internship activities (Article 7:658 paragraph 4 Dutch Civil Code). Also, when an intern causes damage to a third party during the internship, the company is liable (Article 6:170 Dutch Civil Code).
Incidentally, a company is not liable in case of intent or deliberate recklessness of the intern. This means that the student is liable for the damage himself/herself.
In some cases a company stipulates in a contract that the student or educational institution indemnifies the company against damages. However, the student or the education institution cannot take on this liability (as this goes beyond statutory provisions). Such a clause/article will therefore have to be removed from the agreement.
When a student does an internship abroad, the law of the country in question applies.
In some cases, companies have laid down in a traineeship agreement that the trainee or the educational institution must compensate the damage that a trainee has caused to the company or to a third party during the performance of traineeship work.
With these kinds of clauses it is important to know whether the bearer of the liability (the student or educational institution) is sufficiently insured.
An example of a clause that is not acceptable (foreign company):
‘The Intern shall provide compensation in the event of action, claim or proceeding brought against the [company] by a third party as a result of damage caused by the Intern in performance of the Internship Agreement’.
The aforementioned clause is virtually unlimited in terms of the extent of liability. Therefore, please make sure that the clause is amended in such a way that your liability is adequately covered.
An example of a clause that is acceptable:
‘The Intern shall provide, in so far the damage is covered by the Intern’s personal liability insurance, compensation in the event of action, claim or proceeding brought against the [company] by a third party as a result of damage caused by the Intern in performance of the Internship Agreement. Otherwise, the Intern will be covered by the civil liability insurance of the [company], for damages caused by the Intern in the performance of the Internship Agreement’.