Taxi company not liable for driver’s sexual assault

Company gave driver opportunity but nature and expectations of the job didn’t increase the risk of assault
By Ronald Minken
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 01/17/2018

When an employee causes damage or loss to a third party, employers can be held “vicariously liable.” But to what extent is an employer liable for the employee’s actions?

The most common form of vicarious liability is when employers are held liable for their employees’ actions when they are discharging their employment duties and inadvertently cause loss or damage to a third party. There are two main policy rationales as to why employers should be held vicariously liable: It increases the likelihood that victims will receive compensation for their damage or loss; and it acts as a deterrent mechanism to prevent future harm.

A more complicated issue, which arose in the recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision Ivic v. Lakovic, is when employers should be liable for acts of their employees that are unauthorized and intentionally wrong.