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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48533
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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If we employ somebody to create articles website, and

Customer Question

If we employ somebody to create articles for our website, and that person subsequently copies the content from a competitors website, what would need to be included in the employment contract so as to ensure that we would not be liable for the employees' actions?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Has the act of copying the content already taken place?

JACUSTOMER-2dvg7fok- :

I'm not entirely sure, I'm asking on behalf of somebody else.

JACUSTOMER-2dvg7fok- :

Would you be able to email your response? I have another very urgent matter to attend to...

Ben Jones :

I can only correspond on here but you can check back any time

JACUSTOMER-2dvg7fok- :

OK, will you be available later this evening?

Ben Jones :

Yes, I should be, if not I will respond to any follow up queries as soon as I am

JACUSTOMER-2dvg7fok- :

ok

JACUSTOMER-2dvg7fok- :

thanks

JACUSTOMER-2dvg7fok- :

Bye for now Ben.

JACUSTOMER-2dvg7fok- :

Cheers.

Ben Jones :

Ok that would be important because it would not be possible to waive liability once the act has occurred – the employer may be vicariously liable for the employee’s actions anyway if they did not specify exactly what the tasks of this job were, for example they did not make it clear how the content is to be created. But if the job has not yet been undertaken, the employer can include a clause in the contract specifying that all content must be original and no copyright breaches should occur in the process. If that is the case the employer could then potentially defend any action of vicarious liability by arguing that the employee had gone beyond what was required of them and did not follow the specific instructions so that this act is not linked to the job he was expected to do and was a kind of ‘rogue’ act by him which removes the employer’s liability.

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

JACUSTOMER-2dvg7fok- :

Thank You Ben. Please can you tell me exactly what would need to be included in an employment contract in order to successfully defend an action of vicarious liability?

JACUSTOMER-2dvg7fok- :

Or if you can't fully, can you explain a little further and just point me in the right direction?

JACUSTOMER-2dvg7fok- :

Very grateful for your help so far Ben.

Ben Jones :

Vicarious liability is not something you can just remove or limit potential liability against by writing a specific clause in a contract. Such liability arises through common law and would depend on whether the requirements as discussed earlier are met. So if the claimant can show that the employee’s actions and the overall situation has satisfied the requirements for vicarious liability then it can arise regardless of what you put in the contract. The best way to defend potential claims is to show that the employee’s actions were so far removed from their contract of employment and their normal duties that the employer can simply not be held responsible for them. However, as you can appreciate that may be somewhat out of the employer’s control as it would depend on what the employee does in the circumstances.

If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you