Irving and Irving v Post Office: CA 1987

The defendant’s employee disliked his neighbours – the plaintiffs. Whilst working in the sorting office, he wrote racially abusive materials on letters addressed to them. The plaintiffs appealed a finding that the defendant was not liable because the acts were not carried out as part of the employee’s work.
Held: The test was whether the act was merely unauthorised, or whether it was entirely outside the scope of the employment. The employee had not merely done something as a prohibited mode of carrying out his work. The employment merely gave him the opportunity to carry them out.


[1987] IRLR 289


Race Relations Act 1976 1(1)(a) 32(1)

Cited by:

CitedLister and Others v Hesley Hall Ltd HL 3-May-2001
A school board employed staff to manage a residential school for vulnerable children. The staff committed sexual abuse of the children. The school denied vicarious liability for the acts of the teachers.
Held: ‘Vicarious liability is legal . .
CitedGravil v Carroll and Another CA 18-Jun-2008
The claimant was injured by an unlawful punch thrown by the first defendant when they played rugby. He sought damages also against the defendant’s club, and now appealed from a finding that they were not vicariously liable. The defendant player’s . .
AppliedAB v CD EAT 13-Nov-1997
The claimant had been a cook. A poster was put up at work redrawn to show her in a sexually suggestive pose. The court now considered an appeal agreed by consent by the parties.
Held: Since the case had been heard, the Court of Appeal in Tower . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Discrimination, Vicarious Liability

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.214708