Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary
Master and Servant is the relation which arises out of the contract of hiring, a relation whereby a person calls in the assistance of others, where his own skill and labour are not sufficient to carry out his own business or purpose. Every person suffering himself to be hired as a skilled artisan warrants that the possesses the requisite ability and sufficiency, and upon proof of his incompetency his requisite ability and sufficiency, and upon proof of his incompetency, his employer may discharge him. A servant is not personality liable on contracts made by him for his master; but he is liable for torts committed by him, although at the command of his master. Similarly, he is civilly liable for assisting his master in a fraud. Conversely, the master is liable for the torts of his servant committed in his service. A master lies under certain duties to his servant; he is bound to provide an apprentice with medical attendance and medicine during sickness, secus, in the case of a metal or general servant. He is bound to provide for the reasonable safety of his servant while engaged in his employment, as by fencing machinery and otherwise. A master may maintain an action for debauching his servant and may even justify an assault in protecting his servant. So also trespass will lie by a master for enticing his servant away. It is not legally compulsory on a master or mistress to give a discharged servant any character and no action is sustainable for the refusal; but if a character be given, it must accord with the truth.
Liability of a master for the acts of his servant. The general rule is that the principal is liable civilly for the fauds, torts, negligence, malfeasances, and omission of his agent, when done in the course of his employment, though not sanctioned, but even forbidden by the principal. The rule applies respondent superior, let the superior answer for it; for he holds out his agent as competent, and so warrants his fidelity, skill, and good conduct in all matter within the scope of his agency.
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This glossary post was last updated: 18th March, 2020