Vicarious Liability and the Demise of Independent-Contractor Defence

As far as employers are concerned, the liability they incur towards third parties invariably involves the doctrine of vicarious liability. However, the nature of vicarious liability is changing – and employers should beware. The doctrine of vicarious liability holds that an employer is liable for harm or loss arising from the negligence, or other forms of wrongdoing of its employees, that occur in the course and scope of employment. Therefore, if the employer is a company, or some other type […]

Read more

Resolution of the silicosis class action

Litigation is not an efficient way of dealing with the matter of occupational disease. We have previously dealt with two occupational health matters. The first involved Gencor and asbestosis. This matter started in London and later migrated to South Africa where it was eventually settled out of court with Gencor contributing several million rand as two trusts were formed. At the time, Gencor was involved in merger discussions to form BHP Billiton. The asbestos litigation could have held up the […]

Read more

Silicosis litigation – the settlement

With an out-of-court settlement taking place recently, the time is right to resolve the question of compensation for occupational diseases. We have previously discussed the silicosis litigation, where we expressed a view on how this matter should be dealt with going forward. The current system – whereby employees sue employers in terms of the ill-defined and ill-suited common law, resulting in the establishment of multibillion-rand trust funds, which are vulnerable to being “captured” down the road – is not the […]

Read more