Employer Liability for Employee's Actions
Did you know that as an employer you can be held responsible for your employee's bad conduct against other co-workers or customers? Today, we will be talking about a few of these employer liability situations, and more importantly how to steer clear of them.
Job-Related Accidents or Behavior
A legal doctrine exists called Respondeat Superior (Latin for "let the superior answer"). In this doctrine, it's stated that an employer is legally responsible for its employees.
There is a hitch though: the employee in question who causes an accident, misbehaves, or has negative behavior must do so on the grounds of the workplace while carrying out a job for the business or acting on the employer's behalf. In other words, if an employee acted out and did so on their own volition or because of personal motives, the employer might not be held accountable for employer liability. Obviously, there is a lot of room for interpretation for this law, sometimes necessitating litigation to determine fault.
Negligent Hiring as an Employer
As an employer you can also get into hot water for not hiring properly, failing to do background checks, or hiring someone that is a potential danger to people around them.
This also means that if you hire someone who has a criminal background and they do something harmful while on the job, you can be held responsible for employer liability because you're responsible for prior knowledge of past behavior.
Avoiding These Claims
- Perform Background Checks: Yes, background checks cost money. However, the return on your investment is peace of mind and trust in your team.
- Use Special Care: It's important to be aware of the contact your employees have with customers and clients, and therefore, the problems that could arise from lack of experience or sensitivity. For example, if your clients deal directly with the elderly, it's important to ensure that they have prior experience in handling situations that may arise.
- Specialization: Hire specific people for specific jobs; not only jobs they would excel at but jobs that they are screened for. Be sure that job roles are clearly defined and that employees are qualified for all duties in their scope.
- Take Immediate Action: Under the theory of negligent retention, if you know that a certain employee is dangerous, troublesome, or made threats against someone else, and you kept them on, you can be held responsible for employer liability. You absolutely have to take immediate action against a potentially dangerous employee.
Are you facing legal suit as a result of employee actions? For a free consultation contact Sloat & Nicholson at 1-800-873-3202.