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Can an Employer Actually be Held Liable for an Employee that Seriously Assaults a Customer?

AUTHOR(S): Bryan Dunne, Niall Pelly
PRACTICE AREA GROUP: Employment, Pensions and Benefits
DATE: 12.07.2016

In the latest episode of Matheson’s Employment Law Podcast series, Bryan Dunne discusses a recent decision of the UK Supreme Court which deals with the issue of vicarious liability, the legal principle under which an employer can be held responsible for the unauthorised acts of its employees. In this case, the employer was held responsible for an extreme act of unprovoked violence by a petrol pump attendant against a customer. This case illustrates just how far reaching this principle can be. The review also considers the recent expert report into the Clerys Department Store closure and some significant changes it has recommended to the Irish collective redundancy legislation to prevent similar scenarios.

Listen to the podcast to find out the facts, key outcomes from the case and what this means for you as representatives of large employers in Ireland. You can also access earlier episodes going back to 2013 here.

In the next episode, Bryan will review the Labour Court’s first recommendation under the revised Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2001 released last month. This is a very significant development for non-union employers under legislation designed to allow union members to seek orders from the Labour Court to improve their terms and conditions where, amongst other conditions, they can show the employer refuses to engage in collective bargaining.

The podcasts are also available to download on iTunes and Soundcloud. Please click here to view the full UK Supreme Court decision.

Request a copy of the transcript for this recording

The Irish Employment Law Podcast Series is produced by Bryan Dunne, Head of Employment at Matheson. In the series he discusses the latest developments in employment law. The podcasts are a key resource in keeping up to date for HR practitioners, employment lawyers and international employers with employees in Ireland.

Disclaimer: These podcasts present an overview of the cases and law and do not constitute legal advice. How the law will apply in any particular case will depend on the individual circumstances. Listeners should seek legal advice if any of the matters discussed are relevant to them.  


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