The Supreme Court Has Sent Employers A Wake-Up Call on Vicarious Liability


7 March 2016

By Alexandra Dean

The Supreme Court has ruled that Morrisons supermarket was vicariously liable for actions of a staff member who physically attacked a customer.

According to court documents, Amjid Khan was working at a Morrisons petrol station in Birmingham in 2008 when he punched and kicked Ahmed Mohamud.

The Supreme Court has broadened the law which holds employers vicariously liable for the acts of their employees who commit a crime whilst at work.

Previously an employer could argue that an employee was acting for entirely personal reasons, lawyers called it being "on a frolic of their own" if they committed a crime. It was only in cases where the employment itself involved a risk that a crime could be committed that employers had been held liable. For instance, cases involving nightclub bouncers or wardens at residential care homes. 

This ruling makes it possible for customers to hold an employer business liable for the actions of their employees.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. At Gepp & Sons Solicitors we can advise on all aspects of employment law. For more information and guidance, please contact Alexandra Dean on 01245 228141 or email