• Robert Spicer

Assault after Christmas Party

Assault after Christmas Party

Case Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd [2017] IRLR 124, High Court

Facts B, an employee of N, went to the company’s Christmas party. After the party, a number of guests went on to a hotel and carried on drinking. The company’s managing director assaulted B in an unprovoked attack. He punched B twice. B struck his head on the floor and suffered serious brain damage. He claimed compensation from the company.

Decision 1. The company was not liable.

2. The assault was committed after and not during an organised work social event.

3. The managing director could not always be considered to be on duty.

4. There was a temporal and substantive difference between the Christmas party and the drinks at the hotel. Given the time and place, no objective observer would have seen any connection with the jobs of the employees present.

5. There was an insufficient connection between the position in which the managing director was employed and the assault to make it right for the comnay to be held liable.

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