Did You Know That an Organisation Can Be Liable for the Behaviour of a Supervisor?

When an organisation takes on staff under a contract of employment, the business will assume a certain amount of responsibility. This responsibility will become even greater as the company expands and levels of managerial staff are added to the mix. If you're at the head of the tree, why do you need to ensure that all your employees are adequately trained, that supervisors know exactly what they can and cannot do, and that you keep an eye on these matters at all times?

Risk to Others

Sometimes, human nature can interrupt the normal flow of business behaviour and can interfere with employee relations. A supervisor, for example, may overstep his or her mark and in doing so, may cause a problem for one of their downline. In the worst-case scenario, this could cause a significant injury to that employee, and the supervisor in question could be found to be responsible. While there may be repercussions for the staff member involved, there could be more serious repercussions for the organisation itself.


In general, a court will always expect a supervisor to work in line with the high standards set down by the employing organisation. The employer, in turn, has a duty of care to make sure that that supervisor behaves accordingly and does not overstep the mark. If the management team were aware of any shortcomings, then they may certainly be liable for losses suffered during an incident. If the affected individual could show that such behaviour had been apparent before and, crucially, that the organisation had been aware of this, then major problems can arise.

Sizeable Risks

In such a situation, a court could find the company to be fully liable. In the event of a very serious incident, where the employee suffered direct and consequential loss, inability to perform in the future and emotional distress, an award could be sizeable.

Managing the Risk

Make sure that you have an adequate training and disciplinary process in place, and that you keep a close eye on all employees at all times. In the event that one of your supervisors should step out of line, you must be seen to take stern action and ensure that it does not happen again.

What You Should Do Next

If you're faced with a lawsuit caused by a negligent supervisor, then you will need to get some legal help. Reach out to a commercial law firm so that you get full representation and can mitigate the damage as much as possible.