At a research institute’s Christmas party where alcohol was being served, a visiting scientist at the institute tried to pick up an employee off the dancefloor, however this was unsuccessful and the employee fell to the floor. As a result, the employee suffered from a severe injury to her back. The injured employee brought a claim against the institute for negligence, however this was rejected by the Court.
The employer had undertaken a risk assessment prior to the party, and the Court decided that this was sufficient. The duty of care does not extend to the employer having to risk assess whether an unfortunate event following the consumption of alcohol would occur on the dancefloor.
The Court determined that the employer was not vicariously liable for the actions of the visiting scientist, and the event at the party was not connected with the research activities required of the visiting scientist.