Case name & citation: Iqbal v London Transport Executive  EWCA Civ 3; (1973) 16 KIR 329
Court and jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal, England and Wales
Decided on: 06 Jun 1973
Area of law: Vicarious liability; prohibitions by the employer on employee’s work
Facts of the case (Iqbal v London Transport Executive)
The case concerns a bus conductor. It was expressly specified by his employer that he was prohibited from driving a bus in any capacity. But he ignored the instructions given to him by his employer and instead drove a bus for a short distance in a garage. In doing so, he struck and injured a co-worker. The injured party sued the employer for injuries caused due to the negligence of the bus conductor.
Could the employer be held responsible for the injury caused due to the negligent act of his employee (the conductor)?
Judgment of the Court in Iqbal v London Transport Executive
The Court decided that an employer’s explicit instructions can be an effective aid in outlining the scope of employment for an employee.
It was expressly stated that the conductor was not permitted to drive the buses. Therefore, his act of driving the bus was deemed by the Court of Appeal to be outside of the course of his employment. He was engaged as a bus conductor, and driving a bus was in no manner a part of his duties, so this action was found to be outside of the course of his employment.
Thus, the employer was not held liable.
The above case is on vicarious liability.
Under the legal principle known as vicarious liability, one person can be held responsible for the actions of another individual even though that individual was not directly responsible for those actions. In the workplace, this indicates that an employer may be held liable for the wrongful activities of an employee, provided that the wrongdoing was carried out in the course of employment.
Further, in deciding whether an act falls within the course of employment or not, the Courts usually consider the facts and circumstances of each case carefully.
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