Jones v Tower Boot Co Ltd (1997 IRLR 168, CA)

Courts are interpreting “in the course of employment” quite widely which opens the employer to vicarious liability in discrimination cases.

Case facts

Mr. Jones whose mother was white and father black, worked for the employers as a machine operative for about a month until he resigned. During that time he was subjected to a number of incidents of racial harassment from work colleagues.

Conclusion for me

The employer was held vicariously liable for race discrimination. As part of the case the tribunal had to weigh up the definition of “in the course of employment” to decide whether the employer was liable as the employers argued they should not be held accountable.

The Court of Appeal took a broad view and extended the view to more than just the literal meaning to avoid the meaning of the law to be reduced to "...accepting that no act carried out by an employee can become the liability of the employer unless it was expressly authorised by the employer".

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Updated: 3rd May, 2021
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