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Principalansvar - en studie av arbetsgivarens ansvar för sina arbetstagare

Svensson, Peter LU (2015) JURM01 20151
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Principalansvar innebär att man blir ansvarig för någon annans vållande och är således en avvikelse från den svenska skadeståndsrättens grundprincip som föreskriver att man endast ansvarar för sina egna handlingar. Innan skadeståndslagen (SkL) trädde ikraft fanns endast rättspraxis som underlag för ett inskränkt principalansvar. Genom införandet av skadeståndslagen blev arbetsgivarens principalansvar lagfäst och omfattade nu fler skadevållare än tidigare. Att lagstadga principalansvaret har dock varit omtvistat, då farhågor har väckts om att det skulle leda till ett alltför omfattande ansvar för arbetsgivarna. Enligt 3:1 SkL innebär principalansvaret ett skadeståndsrättsligt ansvar för arbetsgivaren då dennes arbetstagare i tjänsten vållar... (More)
Principalansvar innebär att man blir ansvarig för någon annans vållande och är således en avvikelse från den svenska skadeståndsrättens grundprincip som föreskriver att man endast ansvarar för sina egna handlingar. Innan skadeståndslagen (SkL) trädde ikraft fanns endast rättspraxis som underlag för ett inskränkt principalansvar. Genom införandet av skadeståndslagen blev arbetsgivarens principalansvar lagfäst och omfattade nu fler skadevållare än tidigare. Att lagstadga principalansvaret har dock varit omtvistat, då farhågor har väckts om att det skulle leda till ett alltför omfattande ansvar för arbetsgivarna. Enligt 3:1 SkL innebär principalansvaret ett skadeståndsrättsligt ansvar för arbetsgivaren då dennes arbetstagare i tjänsten vållar annan person- eller sakskada genom fel eller försummelse, vållar annan ren förmögenhetsskada genom brott eller om arbetstagaren allvarligt kränker någon annan genom fel eller försummelse. Arbetsgivaren ansvarar följaktligen för skador som uppstår på grund av dennes verksamhet.

Då arbetsgivarens principalansvar innebär att denne endast ansvarar för sin arbetstagare vållande, måste man först fastställa vem som kan anses vara arbetstagare. Detta gör man med hjälp av det civilrättsliga arbetstagarbegreppet som stadgar att förhållandet mellan arbetsgivaren och arbetstagaren måste styras av ett tjänsteavtal. Det finns en möjlighet att utvidga kretsen av de subjekt som omfattas av arbetsgivarens ansvar genom 6:5 3 p. SkL, vilket medför att även andra som utför arbetsuppgifter åt någon annan under förhållanden som kan liknas vid en anställning eventuellt kan jämställas med arbetstagare. För att undgå att själv tvingas erlägga skadestånd kan arbetsgivaren teckna en ansvarsförsäkring som täcker arbetstagarens skadeståndsansvar, vilket även gynnar den skadelidande som då har större möjlighet att få ersättning för sin skada. En arbetstagare har i normala fall inte samma möjlighet att försäkra sig mot skadeståndsanspråk, vilket således också är ett argument för att ansvaret bör falla på arbetsgivaren. Ibland är det oklart vem som i själva verket är principal och då är det nödvändigt att utreda vem det är som har utövat störst kontroll över den arbetstagare som har orsakat skadan. Den primära anledning till att man valt att lägga skadeståndsansvaret på arbetsgivaren är att denne har störst förmåga att förhindra skador genom att på ett säkert sätt leda och övervaka arbetet.

En förutsättning för att principalansvaret ska kunna tillämpas är att skadan är vållad i tjänsten och det fordras att det finns ett funktionellt samband mellan handlingen som orsakade skadan och arbetstagarens arbetsuppgifter. För att fastslå ett sådant samband krävs bland annat att arbetsgivaren kunnat förutse risken för skadan och således haft möjlighet att avvärja den. Arbetstagare kan enligt 4:1 SkL själva bli skadeståndsskyldiga för skador som de vållar genom fel eller försummelse i tjänsten om synnerliga skäl föreligger, vilket kan vara fallet om skadan t.ex. orsakats av en brottslig handling.

Principalansvaret liknar strikt ansvar då arbetsgivaren själv inte behöver ha handlat culpöst och förutsätter inte heller att man kan identifiera skadevållaren, utan det räcker med att man kan fastslå att den som vidtagit den skadevållande handlingen är i arbetsgivarens tjänst.

Jag kommer i denna uppsats att redogöra för motiven bakom utvidgningen av principalansvaret, men även förutsättningarna som krävs för att ansvaret ska kunna tillämpas och dess omfång berörs. Vissa relevanta rättsfall som belyser hur principalansvaret och skadeståndsansvaret för arbetstagare har tillämpats i praktiken kommer också att redovisas i uppsatsen. (Less)
Abstract
Vicarious liability means being responsible for someone else's negligence and therefor a deviation from the Swedish tort law basic principle, which states that you are only responsible for your own actions. Before the Swedish Liability Act (SkL) came into force there were only case law as the basis for a limited vicarious liability. With the introduction of the Liability Act the vicarious liability became statutorily and now involved more people that could be held liable than before. To legislate the employers' vicarious liability, however, has been disputed, since concerns have been raised that it would lead to a disproportionate responsibility for employers. According to 3:1 SkL the vicarious liability means a liability for damages for... (More)
Vicarious liability means being responsible for someone else's negligence and therefor a deviation from the Swedish tort law basic principle, which states that you are only responsible for your own actions. Before the Swedish Liability Act (SkL) came into force there were only case law as the basis for a limited vicarious liability. With the introduction of the Liability Act the vicarious liability became statutorily and now involved more people that could be held liable than before. To legislate the employers' vicarious liability, however, has been disputed, since concerns have been raised that it would lead to a disproportionate responsibility for employers. According to 3:1 SkL the vicarious liability means a liability for damages for the employer when his workers in the service causes personal injury or property damage by their own fault, causing pure economic loss through a criminal act or if the employee seriously violates another person by a wrongful act or omission. The employer is responsible accordingly for any damages arising from its business.

As the principal responsibility means that the employer is responsible only for their workers fault, one must first determine who can be considered a worker. This is done with the help of the civil law definition of whom is intended to be a worker, stating that the relationship between the employer and the employee must be governed by a service contract. There is however a possibility to expand the circle of the subjects covered by the employer's responsibility, by 6: 5 3 p. SkL, which means that those who are performing duties for others, can be compared to employees if they perform work under conditions that resembelles those of employment. To avoid being forced to pay damages, the employer may take out liability insurance that covers the employee's liability, which also benefits the injured party, who then have a greater opportunity to receive compensation for its loss. An employee does not normally have the same opportunity to insure against damages, thus also making this an argument that the responsibility should fall on the employer. Sometimes it is unclear who in fact is the principal and then it is necessary to investigate who has exercised the greatest control over the employee who caused the damage. The primary reason for having chosen to put the responsibility on the employer is that he has the greatest ability to prevent damage by safely managing and controlling the work.

A prerequisite for the employer's vicarious liability to be applied is that damage is caused in the service and it is always required that there is a functional relationship between the act that caused the damage and the employee's duties. In order to establish such a connection it requires that the employer could have foreseen the risk of injury and thus been able to avert it. According to 4:1 SkL workers may themselves be liable for damage they cause by their own fault or neglect in the service if there are exceptional reasons, which could be the case if the damage is caused by a criminal act.

Vicarious liability is similar to strict liability as the employer does not have to be negligent and it does not presuppose that one can identify the perpetrator, it is enough that one can establish that the person who has committed the damaging act is employed by the employer.

In this essay I will explain the rationale behind the extension of the employer's vicarious liability, but also the conditions necessary for the liability to be applied and its scope is mentioned. Some relevant case law that illustrates how the vicarious liability and the liability for workers are applied in practice will also be presented in the essay. (Less)
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author
Svensson, Peter LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Vicarious liability - a study of the employer's responsibility for its employees
course
JURM01 20151
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
skadeståndsrätt
language
Swedish
id
7371805
date added to LUP
2015-06-22 13:11:22
date last changed
2015-06-22 13:11:22
@misc{7371805,
  abstract     = {Vicarious liability means being responsible for someone else's negligence and therefor a deviation from the Swedish tort law basic principle, which states that you are only responsible for your own actions. Before the Swedish Liability Act (SkL) came into force there were only case law as the basis for a limited vicarious liability. With the introduction of the Liability Act the vicarious liability became statutorily and now involved more people that could be held liable than before. To legislate the employers' vicarious liability, however, has been disputed, since concerns have been raised that it would lead to a disproportionate responsibility for employers. According to 3:1 SkL the vicarious liability means a liability for damages for the employer when his workers in the service causes personal injury or property damage by their own fault, causing pure economic loss through a criminal act or if the employee seriously violates another person by a wrongful act or omission. The employer is responsible accordingly for any damages arising from its business.

As the principal responsibility means that the employer is responsible only for their workers fault, one must first determine who can be considered a worker. This is done with the help of the civil law definition of whom is intended to be a worker, stating that the relationship between the employer and the employee must be governed by a service contract. There is however a possibility to expand the circle of the subjects covered by the employer's responsibility, by 6: 5 3 p. SkL, which means that those who are performing duties for others, can be compared to employees if they perform work under conditions that resembelles those of employment. To avoid being forced to pay damages, the employer may take out liability insurance that covers the employee's liability, which also benefits the injured party, who then have a greater opportunity to receive compensation for its loss. An employee does not normally have the same opportunity to insure against damages, thus also making this an argument that the responsibility should fall on the employer. Sometimes it is unclear who in fact is the principal and then it is necessary to investigate who has exercised the greatest control over the employee who caused the damage. The primary reason for having chosen to put the responsibility on the employer is that he has the greatest ability to prevent damage by safely managing and controlling the work.

A prerequisite for the employer's vicarious liability to be applied is that damage is caused in the service and it is always required that there is a functional relationship between the act that caused the damage and the employee's duties. In order to establish such a connection it requires that the employer could have foreseen the risk of injury and thus been able to avert it. According to 4:1 SkL workers may themselves be liable for damage they cause by their own fault or neglect in the service if there are exceptional reasons, which could be the case if the damage is caused by a criminal act.

Vicarious liability is similar to strict liability as the employer does not have to be negligent and it does not presuppose that one can identify the perpetrator, it is enough that one can establish that the person who has committed the damaging act is employed by the employer.

In this essay I will explain the rationale behind the extension of the employer's vicarious liability, but also the conditions necessary for the liability to be applied and its scope is mentioned. Some relevant case law that illustrates how the vicarious liability and the liability for workers are applied in practice will also be presented in the essay.},
  author       = {Svensson, Peter},
  keyword      = {skadeståndsrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Principalansvar - en studie av arbetsgivarens ansvar för sina arbetstagare},
  year         = {2015},
}