Being Responsible for your Employees’ Behaviour
Until recently, the subject of vicarious liability was mostly dealt with by insurers. However, following a judgment from the Supreme Court, employers could now be deemed legally responsible for a far greater range of staff behaviour, after it found that Morrisons - the supermarket firm - was accountable for one of its employees attacking a member of the public.
A panel of five judges found that Morrisons was liable for the actions of Amjid Kahn in punching and kicking a man known as A Mohamud, on the forecourt of one of its petrol stations in Birmingham.
The Supreme Court ruled that there was a connection between the attack and Kahn’s job of serving customers. Lord Toulson, delivering the official judgment on behalf of the panel, said, “His employers entrusted him with that position, and it is just that as between them and the claimant, they should be held responsible for their employee’s abuse of it.”
As a result this increases employer’s potential liability for their employees’ actions and firms could potentially be held responsible for the behaviour of anyone in a customer-facing role.
Employers will have to consider how to avoid such circumstances arising and potential defences. Options include being very clear over what is and what is not acceptable behaviour; more training; and more in-depth background checks.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016