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May 15

Posted by
Michelle Arkins

What is Vicarious Liability?

Vicarious liability is a form of strict, secondary liability that arises under the common law doctrine of agency – respondeat superior – the responsibility of the superior for the acts of their subordinate, or, in a broader sense, the responsibility of any third party that had the "right, ability or duty to control" the activities of a violator.

How does this affect Employers?

Employers are vicariously liable, for the negligence of the employee because the employee is held to be an agent of the employer. If a negligent act is committed by an employee acting within the general scope of her or his employment, the employer will be held liable for damages.

One such area that employers need to watch out for is bullying and harassment in the workplace. If you read Section 15 of the Employment Equality Act 1998, which is entitled “Vicarious Liability etc” where if an employee bullies a colleague on any one of the nine grounds of discrimination then the employer can be found vicariously liable.

Liability of employers and principals. 15.—(1) Anything done by a person in the course of his or her employment shall, in any proceedings brought under this Act, be treated for the purposes of this Act as done also by that person's employer, whether or not it was done with the employer's knowledge or approval.
(2) Anything done by a person as agent for another person, with the authority (whether express or implied and whether precedent or subsequent) of that other person shall, in any proceedings brought under this Act, be treated for the purposes of this Act as done also by that other person.
(3) In proceedings brought under this Act against an employer in respect of an act alleged to have been done by an employee of the employer, it shall be a defence for the employer to prove that the employer took such steps as were reasonably practicable to prevent the employee—
(a) from doing that act, or
(b) From doing in the course of his or her employment acts of that description.

The compensation explanation of vicarious liability holds that the logic for the doctrine is to ensure that innocent plaintiffs have a solvent individual against whom to bring a claim against and if we look at both the employee and the employer it is more likely to be the employer who is wealthier and/or carries insurance.

If you have no current Bullying and Harassment or Equality Policy in the workplace then just click here and let Bright Contracts handle it for you today!

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company Handbook, Contract of employment

May 15

Posted by
Michelle Arkins

Fixed Term Contracts

When can I use them? What you need to watch out for?

One of the most difficult areas of employment law for employers to fully grasp, is the whole area of fixed term contracts and how they can turn into the dreaded CID (contract of indefinite duration).

What is a fixed term contract? This is a contract that will end on a specified date, or when a specific task is completed, or when a specific event occurs. Generally, a fixed-term contract ends on an agreed date. Such a contract period may range from a matter of months up to a period of a year or more. However, a fixed-term contract can also involve a specified-purpose and so may not end on a specific date. Rather, it is agreed that the contract will finish when a particular stated task is completed, such as replacing an employee while she is on maternity leave.

Employees on fixed-term contracts have broadly similar rights to those on open-ended contracts. The majority of employees work under open-ended/permanent contracts of employment. In other words, the contract continues until such time as the employer or employee ends it. Many other employees however, work under fixed-term contracts.

The expression, fixed-term contract, is used for convenience here. It also includes specified-purpose contracts.

By law an employer must provide a fixed-term employee with a written statement as soon as possible, outlining an event which will trigger an end to the contract .That is, whether the contract will end on a specific date, following completion of a specific task or a specific event. (None in place? Get started today).

In addition, where an employer intends to renew a fixed-term contract, a written statement must be supplied to the fixed-term employee no later than the date of renewal, setting out the objective grounds justifying the renewal and the failure to offer a permanent position.

Employers are obliged to inform fixed-term employees of vacancies for permanent positions. This may be done by means of a general announcement.

The Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act, 2003 provides under section 9(3) that a contract of indefinite duration will arise by operation of law if a contract is awarded in breach of sections 9(1) or 9(2) of the act

In simple terms, if an employee is employed on 2 or more successive fixed term contracts in continuous employment for a period of 4 years, then any attempt to give that employee a further fixed term contract is unlawful and void at which stage the employee is entitled to a contract of indefinite duration.

If your employee is entitled to a CID, he/she will have practically all the same entitlements as a permanent employee.

If this is an area that interests you then, click here to read the key aspects of the legislation which employers should be aware of, when issuing fixed term contracts.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company Handbook, Employment Contract