Vicarious Liability

Published: | Updated: October 31, 2017

Definition - What does Vicarious Liability mean?

Vicarious liability is the responsibility assigned to an employer resulting from the actions of an employee. These actions or even inactions, which may incur liability for an employer, can occur during the normal course of employment, involving routine tasks or as a result of carelessness or negligence on behalf of the employee while representing the employer.

Safeopedia explains Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability often involves employees’ actions, but can also include the actions of third party contractors, sub-contractors, and even volunteers. Employers seeking to limit their exposure to this liability can establish written policies that set clear expectations of what is acceptable and unacceptable for each employee. The employer may also seek to pre-screen volunteers and establish a training program for these volunteers to ensure that they understand the duties and limitations of their contributions. A formal written contract with outside contractors is often established to clearly define who is responsible for actions performed during the scope of activities outlined in the contract.

This definition was written in the context of Occupational Health & Safety
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