0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

liability for the actions of your employees

15 October 2018

Vicarious liability is where employers are considered to be legally responsible for the acts or ommissions of their employees. The case of Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Limited is the latest in a series of cases that appear to continue to widen the circumstances in which vicarious liability will be held to apply.

In this case Mr Bellman was employed as a sales manager. Following the Christmas party, some attendees went to a hotel and continued drinking. The terms of employment of a new employee were discussed. The Managing Director, Mr Major, gave a lecture about his authority. When questioned about his actions by Mr Bellman, Mr Major punched the employee who sustained serious injuries.

The Court of Appeal concluded that the employer was vicariously liable for Mr Major’s actions, noting that;

  • Major had full control over how he conducted his role as company owner,
  • When lecturing the staff, Major was seeking to establish his authority in his role, and
  • The party followed a company event, with most employees attending and with the company paying for taxis and drinks.

Employers must be aware that they can be liable for acts of their employees even when they do not take place at work premises or during working hours.

related opinions

Extension to exemption from Tier 2 visa salary threshold for STEM and Mandarin teachers

The Government has announced that the current exemption from the £30,000 minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) sponsored workers in a number of public service professions has been extended.

View blog

Could suspension of an employee pending an investigation amount to a breach of their employment contract?

The Court of Appeal recently provided authoritative guidance on disciplinary suspensions including on whether the suspension of an employee facing serious allegations, pending an investigation, could amount to a repudiation of their employment contract.

View blog

Landlord and tenant inspections - getting the evidence right

In Rogerson v Bolsover District Council (2019) the Court of Appeal found against a local authority landlord pursuant to the Defective Premises Act 1972 following a finding of an inadequate inspection regime.

View blog

How do you determine if a disability is 'long-term'?

The Employment Appeals Tribunal ('EAT') has recently considered the approach that should be taken when considering whether an impairment can be said to be 'long-term'.

View blog

mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up