Contract Agencies – How can you reassure your Clients after the shock ruling in Various Claimants v Barclays Bank?

What happened in this case?

Earlier this year an important decision was handed down from the High Court in the case of Various Claimants v Barclays Bank Plc. The case concerned the assault of a number of victims committed by a doctor during the course of a pre-employment medical examinations for Barclays. The doctor was not employed by Barclays, yet Barclays was found to be vicariously liable for his actions and to compensate the victims.

Why was Barclays liable?

Vicarious liability is a concept whereby one person is responsible for the actions of another. A key example of this is how an employer is liable for the actions of an employee. The surprising decision made here by the High Court has widened the scope significantly and increases the risk of claims against your Clients for the actions of contractors.  In this case it was found that the relationship between the doctor and Barclays was sufficiently akin to employment for them to be liable as an employer. PAYE temps or contractors may, through their actions give rise to vicarious liability for end clients or even recruitment agencies.

How can you protect yourself?

The best way to protect yourself is to put sufficient protection into your candidate contracts. Three things in particular should be included:

  • Indemnities from Limited Company Contractors to ensure that their Limited Company is responsible for their actions.
  • Statements acknowledging that the staffing company does not exercise control over the contractor.
  • Caps on liability

At TBOS, all of our contracts have been drafted by Solicitors and are regularly updated. We can also offer a number of contract services including the adding of terms and review of contracts for particular purposes. If you would like to know more, please call us on 0845 881 1112.