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VIC Consequences of Speeding Fine During Course of Employment?

Discussion in 'Traffic Law Forum' started by miss alley, 27 November 2014.

  1. miss alley

    miss alley Active Member

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    Hi. Question 1. Who is liable for the cost of a speeding fine in work vehicle, completing a work task, solely for the purpose of fulfiling work duties? I understand the employee will always receive the demerit points yet feel the employer is vicariously responsible for the act and therefore should be entirely liable for the fine. His choice is to then fire the employee if so inclined or to accept the vicissitudes of being an employer and choose to retain the employee.

    Question 2. Should he choose to fire the employee, would the employee have any recourse as he was not anymore negligent than your average employee who is required to do much driving? He's had over 16 years' employment with the same company and this is his first fine.

    Thanks!
     
  2. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Let me address just question 1 for the moment. There are limits to vicarious liability in this context, such as acting within the course of one's employment. Although I understand that courts have interpreted these words quite broadly in one or two high profile cases (with some humorous facts), on first reckoning I'd say speeding is unlikely to fall within those limits because put simply it's breaking the law
     
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  3. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    ???? Did the employer tell the employer to break the law by speeding? If not, the employee is responsible for the fine. The employer may decide to pay the fine on behalf of the employee but is a goodwill gesture, nothing more.

    Re: Q2. Employee would have a case for unfair dismissal unless he loses his licence as a result of the infringement and the job requires a driving licence.

    Is this a study question?
     
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  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
    LawTap Verified Lawyer

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    I agree with @Hugh here.

    Start from the premise that vicarious liability is a concept of civil law,
    and that traffic offences are generally matters of the criminal law.

    Absent co-offender or conspiracy aspects, an employer is not generally* exposed
    to the consequences of offences committed by their employee(s).

    A driver has duties, and can commit offences, under the Australian Road Rules.
    Those duties are imposed on, and those offences are committed by, the driver in personam.
    On that basis the employer cannot be vicariously liable for those offences.**

    Note also that (absent factors relevant to Rule 306) an employer cannot authorise a driver to commit offences (such as speeding), and cannot assume liability for those offences.

    Lastly, I would have to say that if a driver was sacked for a mere speeding fine,
    then I would thinking about whether that was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable,
    and, if relevant, compliant with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.



    -----------------------------------------------------
    * Ignoring, for convenience, clarity, relevance, and brevity(!!) offences in the areas of
    WHS, certain environment related offences, and certain offences in Corporations and Taxation Law.

    ** This is not to say that an employer cannot be vicariously liable in, say, negligence,
    for ("civil") damage arising out of the same set of facts... such as property damage caused by a speed-related accident,
    or for injuries to other persons.
    I am not well enough versed on civil liability in Motor Accidents in Victoria to be able to comment on that aspect.
     
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  5. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    To emphasise, these are separate questions. Supposing the employer is not vicariously liable, still there may be a valid claim in relation to the employment dismissal, see Tim W's comments above re, 'Small Business Fair Dismissal Code'
     
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  6. Phildo

    Phildo Well-Known Member

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    People are required to stick within the law when conducting their work duties. However, there is an onus on the employer to provide a safe environment (eg reasonable timetables and deadlines).

    Many employers are now putting GPS trackers and g-force sensors in their vehicles to ensure that employees drive legally. Driving legally will also be specified in their work contract, which would then allow for termination under particular circumstances.

    If a car has cruise control then learn to use it and love it. A windscreen mounted GPS can also be useful for showing the current speed more precisely than a normal dashboard speedometer.
     
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