The tort case of Mohamud v Morrisons involved an employee physically attacking a customer of Morrisons at a petrol station. Previous to this case, it was generally accepted that Morrisons would not be liable in tort law for the criminal actions of a working member of their staff. Though, liability could apply where a bouncer caused injuries to a customer at a night club – since the very nature of that job involved physical interaction between the bouncer and the customer.
However, the UK Supreme Court have now opened the door to companies being much more generally liable for the actions of their staff. The Supreme Court determined that a court must ask what function or field of activities has been entrusted by the employer to the employee (i.e. what was the nature of his job). This is to be viewed broadly. Second, the court must decide whether there was a sufficient connection between the position in which he was employed and his wrongful conduct to make it right for the employer to be held liable.
Given that the employee was employed at the petrol station to interact with Morrisons customers, the Court determined that the employer was liable for the actions of a member of their staff when he assaulted a customer.