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Legal Principle: Vicarious Liability is When Employers Are Held Liable for the Torts Committed by Their Employees During the Course of Employment. Factual Situation: New Vision School Opened - Legal Reasoning

MCQ

Apply the legal principles to the facts given below and select the most appropriate answer.
Legal Principle: Vicarious liability is when employers are held liable for the torts committed by their employees during the course of employment.

Factual Situation: New Vision School opened a boarding house (Shivaji House) for boys in the year 2000 for the students having behavioral and emotional difficulties. The claimants in the instant case had resided there between 2000 to 2003, being aged 12 to 15 during that time, under the care of a warden, who was in charge of maintaining discipline and the running of the house. The warden lived in the House, with his disabled wife, and together they were the only two members of staff in the House. His duties were ensuring order, in making sure the children went to bed, went to school, engaged in evening activities, and supervising other staff. It had been alleged by some of the boys that the warden had sexually abused them, including inappropriate advances and taking trips alone with them. A criminal investigation took place some ten years later, resulting in the warden being sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Following this, the victims brought an action for personal injury against ~he employers, alleging that they were vicariously liable. Whether the employers of the warden may be held vicariously liable for their employee's intentional sexual abuse of school boys placed under his care?

Options

  • No, vicarious liability could only arise when the employee is acting during the course of his employment and for his employer's benefit.

  • No, the employers cannot be made liable for acts which are not authorized by them.

  • Yes, there was a sufficient connection between the work that the warden was employed to do and the abuse that he committed to render it within the scope of employment. The abuse was committed at the time, premises and during the course of the warden's care of the boys.

  • Yes, because the employers should be made liable in cases of sexual abuse of differently-abled children.

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Solution

Yes, there was a sufficient connection between the work that the warden was employed to do and the abuse that he committed to render it within the scope of employment. The abuse was committed at the time, premises and during the course of the warden's care of the boys.

Explanation:

Three elements are needed to be fulfilled to transfer vicarious liability. They are relationships between employer v employee, the tortuous act of negligence committed and within the course of employment.  Employers to be responsible for the lack of care on the part of employees (to whom the employers owe a duty of care). To apply the “respondeat superior”, the employee’s negligence must occur within the scope of her employment. Additionally, it is important to know whether B is an employee of A and also to determine whether B was within the scope of employment when the negligent act was committed. Hence "Yes, there was a sufficient connection between the work that the warden was employed to do and the abuse that he committed to render it within the scope of employment. The abuse was committed at the time, premises and during the course of the warden's care of the boys." is the correct option as there was an employee-employer  relationship between the warden and the employer, the abuse was committed during the course of his job.

Concept: Law of Torts (Entrance Exams)
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