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Two words of vital concern to all employers: Vicarious Liability

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HC Online | 11 Aug 2010, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Many employers are unaware they may be legally responsible for their employee's misconduct if they fail to take "reasonable steps" to address those issues, writes Harriet Stacey
  • Bernie Althofer | 13 Aug 2010, 10:19 AM Agree 0
    It seems problematic for organisations they whilst they may believe they are meeting legal requirements, current Court, Commission and Tribunal decisions may not be included in any review processes that ensure policies maintain currency. I have previously indicated that I systems and processes should be in place so that current trends and issues are addressed as part of the regular review processes. Many organisations are no doubt developing and implementing policies that address issues such as sexual harassment and workplace bullying. However, rather than deliver one off training or information sessions, the issues identified by Harriet means that training/learning and development and reviews/audits have to be ongoing. Given that the Model Work Health and Safety Act introduces some 'new' requirements for officers in the public and private sector, it is appropriate that audits be conducted to ensure that all legal compliance requirements are being met. If an organisation wants to test knowledge and understanding of vicarious liability, it might be as easy as saying to an employee "What is your understanding of vicarious liability?" Having a few short lines in a policy may not suffice in providing employees at all levels with sufficient understanding of what they are actually required to do to avoid being vicariously liable.
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