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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49788
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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there, Back in april 2014 my cleaner allegedly stole

Customer Question

Back in april 2014 my cleaner allegedly stole a necklace from my house mate. Nothing was proven and there was no sign of forced entry (although the cleaner did have a criminal record I was not aware of). He was long gone by the time the loss was discovered.
Now the housemate has left on bad terms and has come back to me within the past week saying I'm responsible fact that my cleaner stole the necklace and I should pay . Do I have any responsibility?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones : , my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Has this person actually made a claim against you loss?
JACUSTOMER-tjhejoan- :

no. but she's so crazy she might

JACUSTOMER-tjhejoan- :

she said in an email it was my fault if that's what you mean

JACUSTOMER-tjhejoan- :

but has filed nothing legally

JACUSTOMER-tjhejoan- :

the cleaner was employed by my company if that makes a difference

JACUSTOMER-tjhejoan- :


Ben Jones :

Apologies slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues last night. All seems to be resolved now so I can continue with my advice.

As you were not personally responsible theft, the housemate can only pursue this under the law of vicarious liability. This involves making an employer liable wrongs committed by an employee where there is a sufficient connection with the employment. It arises even if the employer has committed no wrong.

However, this only applies to employees, so if you had employed this person as an independent contractor (say a self employed cleaner working ) then vicarious liability would not apply and you are not going to be responsible in any way.

If this person was an employee rather than self employed then to be successful the claimant has to show that there was a sufficiently close connection between their job and the alleged act. If the theft was committed whilst the person did their job, then there could be a sufficiently close connection established to make you vicariously liable. However, remember that this can only happen if the person was an employee, not working on a contractor basis .

Even if you may be seen as being vicariously liable, you cannot be forced to pay anything unless the person takes you to court and wins their case. So they may threaten you with legal action in the meantime but until they actually make a formal claim and win it, you cannot be held liable or forced to pay .

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Ben Jones :

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