When is a company held liable if an employee is driving a personal vehicle without a license while on the clock?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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When is a company held liable if an employee is driving a personal vehicle without a license while on the clock?

Our company just found out one of our employees does not have a license. He drives to and from work and is clocked in, although he is not technically doing work. He is just commuting. If during his commute he is pulled over or in an accident, can our company be held liable since he is clocked in?

Asked on August 20, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you are not liable during his commute to or from work, because that is not work time and not under your control or direction: i.e. you don't make him drive without a license, since you just require him to be there by a certain time--he could Uber/Lyft, take mass transit, car pool, get a license, bike if he's not too far, etc.
If you send him out to do any chores, make any deliveries or pick-ups for you, go to a client's or vendor's, etc. during work, however, while knowing he has no license, then you could be held liable, since then he is driving without a license at your request, for work, and with your knowledge.

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