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An employer’s responsibility regarding injury committed by an employee

Did you know that an employer may, in certain circumstances, be held responsible for a fault made by one of their employees during the performance of their duties?

In fact, the Civil code of Quebec is clear and edicts that the principal is responsible for the injury caused by their agents going as far as creating a presumption of responsibility of the employer with regards to their employee’s actions[1].

In other words, the employer is responsible of the injury caused by their employees in the performance of their duties, whether or not the employer themselves has committed a fault.

This presumption of responsibility is subject to three (3) conditions:  

  1. The employee must have caused injury;
  2. There must be an employer-employee relationship;
  3. The injury must have been caused in the performance of their duties

Therefore, if these three (3) conditions are present, the employer will automatically be held responsible.

The employer will nonetheless have certain grounds for defence in order to free themselves of the presumption of responsibility. For example, the employer will of course be able to attempt to prove the absence of one or more of the aforementioned conditions or simply invoke external cause such as a superior force.

Finally, it must be noted that the employer who is held responsible is not without recourse.  In fact, the employer will always have the option, should they so desire, to sue the faulty employee directly[2].

[1] 1463 C.c.Q.

[2] Idem 1

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