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Vicarious liability: Employer vicariously liable for "doorman's" assault on customer

This report relates to 1 case(s)

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    Mattis v Pollock (t/a Flamingo’s Nightclub) [2003] IRLR 603 CA (0 other reports)

Key Points

  • In Mattis v Pollock (t/a Flamingo's Nightclub), the Court of Appeal holds that a nightclub owner was vicariously liable for the actions of his door supervisor whose aggression culminated in the stabbing of a customer of the club outside the club premises, notwithstanding that, before the assault, the employee had left the club, returned to his home to arm himself with a knife and had then attacked the customer in an act of personal vengeance.
  • The test to be applied in determining whether an employer is vicariously liable is whether or not the assault was so closely connected with what the employer authorised or expected of the employee that it would be fair and just to find that it was liable.
  • In this case, the employer had encouraged and colluded with the employee's aggressive and intimidating behaviour at the club on previous occasions. The stabbing was the culmination of an unpleasant incident that had started at the club, and it could not justly be treated in isolation from the earlier events, even though the incident in question involved a large element of personal vengeance, and could have ended at any of a number of points during its development. Adopting a broad approach, in this case the employer's responsibility for the actions of his aggressive employee was not extinguished by the time the stabbing took place.