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A delivery company expressly prohibits its drivers from having any passengers in their vehicles who are not employees of the company. One afternoon, a driver was running late, so his son volunteered to help. The son's friend also came along for the ride. While driving out of the company loading bay, two company employees were playing football on their break when the ball came through the passenger window, injuring the son's friend. Can the son's friend bring an action for personal injury against the company?

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The principle of vicarious liability holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees carried out in the course of their employment. Even if an employee breaches a company rule, the employer may still be liable if the employee was performing their duties at the time of the incident. In this case, although the driver breached the company's prohibition against having non-employees in the vehicle, he was still engaged in his work duties when the injury occurred. This situation is similar to the case of Rose v Plenty [1976] 1 WLR 141, where a milk delivery driver disobeyed company orders by allowing a 13-year-old boy to help him, and the boy was injured. The Court of Appeal held the employer liable because the injury occurred while the driver was performing his work duties. 


Key Point: Employers can be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees, even when those actions breach company rules, as long as the employee is performing their work duties. This principle prevents employers from avoiding liability simply by prohibiting certain actions.

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