Is a company liable for an assault which occurred after a Christmas party?


The case involved an assault of a manager by a director after a Christmas party. Following a work Christmas party the two, along with other colleagues, went on to a hotel and continued drinking until the assault occurred at 3.00 am. The assault caused serious brain injury to the manager and the decision was taken to sue the company, and in effect its insurers, rather than the director personally. The question arose whether at the time the director struck the blow, was he 'acting in the course or scope of his employment" so as to make the company vicariously liable? The Judge held that the company could have been liable if the blow had been struck during the Christmas party itself, but the assault in the hotel occurred after the party during a private drinking session and so the company was not vicariously liable.


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