Key Case | A M Mohamud v WM Morrison’s Supermarket PLC (2016) | Vicarious Liability - In the Course of Employment
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Last updated 9 Oct 2020
This case established the close connection test, it additionally does not matter that the act of the tortfeasor amounts to a crime, a defendant employer can still be found vicariously liable for this act.
Defendant: Supermarket chain
Facts: The claimant entered a supermarket petrol station and was rudely refused service by the tortfeasor (Morrison’s employee.) The claimant was subjected to threatening and racist abuse and was followed to his car. The tortfeasor opened the passenger door to issue more threats and physically assault the claimant.
Legal principle: In accordance with the close connection test, the supermarket as the employers of the tortfeasor are vicariously liable. Responding to customers was an aspect of the tortfeasor’s job role and thus his abuse was closely connected. Following the claimant to the car was an unbroken sequence of events associated with his employment. His actions did not become unconnected as soon as he was outside, he was still working, following up on his interaction, and his threats related to the claimant’s possible return to the defendant’s premises. Being a criminal act also did not prevent the employers being vicariously liable.