Morrisons Supermarkets Not Vicariously Liable For An Employee’s Attack On Customer

In February 2014, the Court of Appeal ("COA") determined that Morrisons was not vicariously liable for the acts of an employee who assaulted a customer. The COA considered the House of Lords decision in Lister v Hesley Hall Limited [2002] 1 AC 215 and the requirement that there be a sufficiently close connection with the employment. The COA did not believe this requirement was satisfied.

Ahmed Mohamud ("AM") was a customer of Morrisons. On 15 March 2008 he visited the petrol station and enquired as to whether it would be possible to print some documents from a USB stick which he had. Morrisons' employee, Amjid Khan is reported to have responded in an abusive way and used racist language. He followed AM out to his car, opened the passenger door and shouted further abuse at AM. He then proceeded to punch AM in the head and punched and kicked him outside of the car.

The COA considered the case of Lister and other case law on vicarious liability. It observed that the case law makes clear that careful attention must be paid to the closeness of the connection between the employee's wrongdoing and the duties he is employed to perform. The COA found that the mere fact that employment provided the opportunity, setting, time and place for the tort to occur was not...

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