When Liability is Left at the Hotel Room Door

  • David Harris
  • Thursday, January 30th, 2020

We occasionally deal with issues for clients concerning misconduct and gross misconduct at the office Christmas party. Although a unique situation, DPH Legal are able to provide specialist legal advice on this matter.

In this theme the High Court has delivered an interesting Judgement this month with regard to liability for the “after party” or, in this case, the “post-Christmas party party”.

The case involved four employees, including a director, who decided to continue the Christmas party in their hotel room and carried on drinking until 3am when an assault occurred.

An employee suffered a serious brain injury due to the director striking him. The question was whether the company could be held responsible for the director’s actions, i.e. was the director “acting in the course or scope of his employment?”.

Interestingly the court confirmed that had this happened at the Christmas party then the company would have been liable.

However, the employees were on “a frolic of their own” and the company in this case at least could not be held liable for the director’s actions.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as formal legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Specific legal advice should be sort tailored to the individual circumstances in all cases.