When Liability is Left at the Hotel Room Door

We occasionally deal with issues for clients concerning misconduct and gross misconduct at the office Christmas party. Although a unique situation, DPH Legal are able to provide specialist legal advice on this matter.

Judgement From the High Court

In this theme, the High Court has delivered an interesting Judgement this month with regard to liability for the “after-party” or, in this case, the “post-Christmas party party”.

The Case Detail

The case involved four employees, including a director, who decided to continue the Christmas party in their hotel room and carried on drinking until 3 am when an assault occurred.

An employee suffered a serious brain injury due to the director striking him. The question was whether the company could be held responsible for the director’s actions, i.e. was the director “acting in the course or scope of his employment?”.

Court Verdict

Interestingly the court confirmed that had this happened at the Christmas party then the company would have been liable.

However, the employees were on “a frolic of their own” and the company in this case at least could not be held liable for the director’s actions.


The content on this page is for general awareness only. It is not intended to constitute professional or legal advice. Changes to legislation may have happened since this article was published. The contents of this article should not be used as a basis for action and the reader should be advised to seek the appropriate professional advice based on their individual circumstances.


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