In the recent case of Brink’s Global Services Inc and others v Igrox Ltd and another, the Court of Appeal held the employer vicariously liable for an employee’s theft of silver bars. The employer provided a carriage of goods service which included fumigation services. The employee in question was instructed to fumigate a container filled with silver bars which was due to be transported from a bank in London to India. Instead of carrying out his fumigation duties, the employee opened the sealed container and stole 15 bars of silver.
An employer will be held to be vicariously liable for wrongful acts committed by employees if the Court is satisfied that there is a sufficiently close connection between the wrongful act and the purpose of the employee’s employment. In this case, theft of silver bars from a container which the employee had been instructed to fumigate in the course of his employment was considered sufficiently close and the employer held legally responsible for the actions of the employee.
Employers should be alert to the possibility of vicarious liability and consider implementing extra security, supervision or training measures.