Vicarious Liability

Employer’s vicarious liability to protect employees from injuries and harms

Introduction to Vicarious Liability

Under vicarious liability, an employer will be held responsible for the wrongs committed or injury and harm caused by his  employees in the course of employment subject to the following conditions

  • The existence of an employer-employee relationship
  • The employee must have committed a wrongful act
  • The wrongful act must be committed during the course of an employment

In these circumstances, the liability for the injury or harm transfers from the employee, who has committed the actual offence, to the employer.

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What is on this page?

  • Introduction to vicarious liability
  • Disobedient employee
  • What would you do next?

Disobedient employee

In decidding, whether an employee is vicariously liable for the acts or omissions of the disobedient employee, courts have generally maintained that if the disobedient employee was working within the scope of his employment and for the benefit of the employer then such employer will be vicariously liable for the wrongs committed by the disobedient employee. In a case of Lister and Others v Hesley Hall Ltd, the warden of the school abused boys while they were resident at the school. The House of Lords held the employer (school) was vicariously liable for the acts of its employee as the warden was employed to take care of the school children. In another contemporary case, the doorman of a night club stabbed a customer while on duty and the employer was held vicariously liable for the act of doorman. The whole point of vicarious liability is to provide a safe working environment to employees and customers alike, protect employees and customers from the acts or omissions of disgruntled and negligent employees.

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