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Festive Fun: What’s the worst that’ll happen?

It’s nearly Christmas, which means you are probably looking forward to your works Christmas party!

But, is your company vicariously liable for injuries and behaviours that have been caused after or during a work event?

A recent case (Bellman v Northampton Recruitment) was taken to the High Court after a company director assaulted a manager following their Christmas party. After the party, the pair along with a few other colleagues carried on drinking at a hotel before the assault happened.

The assault left the manager with serious brain injuries, leading to a claim being put in against the company, not the director. It was debated if, at the time the director carried out the assault, was he ‘acting in the course or scope of his employment’?

The answer is no. The judge ruled that as the assault did not happen during the Christmas party itself, it was in a private drinking session following, the company was not vicariously liable.

So, although it is all fun and cheers at this time of year, it’s important to keep in mind that if any irresponsible behaviour were to happen during your Christmas party, or any work event, your company could be held responsible.

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Femi Ogunshakin Managing Director
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