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Many  business owners understand that they’re responsible when employees cause harm to themselves or others while on company property or while using company equipment. But the truth is that employers can be liable for harm caused by an employee anywhere at any time if that employee caused harm within the course and scope of his or her job duties.

Consider this scenario; an employee was asked to run an official errand after close of work by his boss. The employee ran the errand using a vehicle from his company.  While enroute, he had an accident that kept him bedridden for months. I know what readily comes to mind is, who should cater for the employee’s hospital bills? Now I am sure you have come to the conclusion that the boss isn’t liable to be held responsible, since he wasn’t the one that drove, and that the errand was run when it was not an official hour. This is a common situation.

Now the truth: though it is already close of work, the employer is responsible for what happened to that employee, in the course of his discharge of duty. The reasons are not far-fetched. The employer was the one that gave the directive, and a company facility was put to use during the duty-discharge. A situation like this could have major consequences on your business, if care is not taken, so you’re advised to clarify expectations and the thoroughness and care the employee must take in the discharge of his duties, and the extent to which Employer is liable should be clarified in writing. Seek appropriate legal counsel in this regard.

To avoid finding yourself on the wrong end of  vicarious liability summons, clearly define and agree with your employees’ job descriptions (job description templates can be drafted by a lawyer who understands the peculiarities of your industry ), and purchase an appropriate insurance policy  that covers employees at work, in personal and official vehicles.  More clarity and specific services can be obtained from our friends at www.facebook.com/OIAservices

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Send us a mail at info@personallawyer.com.ng to specify areas of the law you want us to educate you on.

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