Employees Liability and Settlement Agreements

There are situations where an employer is liable for the actions of an employee against a third party. However, there must be a close connection between the wrong doing and the employment.

Mohamed v Morrisons Supermarket

In March 2008, a customer visited a Morrison's supermarket and petrol station in Small Heath in Birmingham. The customer entered the service kiosk and asked a Morrison's employee, Mr Khan, if it was possible to print off some documents which were stored on a USB stick that the customer was carrying. Mr Khan responded in an abusive fashion including racist language. He then proceeded to follow the customer into his car, punch him to the head, and then subjected him to a serious attack involving further punches and kicks whilst the customer was curled up on the petrol station forecourt.

The customer sued Morrison, claiming it was vicariously liable for its employee's actions. The trial judge held it was not.

The Court of Appeal agreed. The question was whether there was a sufficiently close connection between the wrongdoing (the assaults) and the employment so that it would be fair and just to hold the employer vicariously liable.

As such, these acts were beyond the scope of Khan's employment. The case could be distinguished from cases involving vicarious liability where the employee's duties included exercising authority and keeping order (such as a night club doorman). Mr Khan's duties included no element of keeping order over customers.

Settlement agreements can be proposed by both employers and employees and liability for actions can be negotiated. The above is an extreme case but we can advise you on the terms of any agreement offered to you and the effect on your individual circumstances.

Where necessary we can negotiate terms on your behalf.

If you require advice or assistance on any settlement agreement or other legal matter then please feel free to contact us.

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