Employees Cannot Be Held Legally Responsible for an Environmental Violation

Employees Cannot Be Held Legally Responsible for an Environmental Violation

If your employee hurts someone, you could be legally responsible.

In some circumstances, your visitor may be legally responsible for harm caused past its employees. Under a scattering of legal theories, courts accept held employers liable for injuries their employees inflicted on coworkers, customers, or total strangers. Here, we explain those legal theories — and a few commonsense steps yous can have to steer clear of trouble. (For more than information on handling potentially unsafe workers, see
Dealing With Problem Employees: A Legal Guide, by Amy DelPo and Lisa Guerin (Nolo) and
The Essential Guide to Workplace Investigations, by Lisa Guerin (Nolo).)

Chore-Related Accidents or Misconduct

Under a legal doctrine sometimes referred to every bit “respondeat superior” (Latin for “Let the superior answer”), an employer is legally responsible for the actions of its employees. Notwithstanding, this dominion applies only if the employee is acting within the form and scope of employment. In other words, the employer will mostly be liable if the employee was doing his or her job, carrying out company business, or otherwise acting on the employer’s behalf when the incident took place.

The purpose of this rule is fairly simple: to agree employers responsible for the costs of doing business, including the costs of employee carelessness or misconduct. If the injury caused by the employee is simply 1 of the risks of the concern, the employer will take to bear the responsibility.

Merely if the employee acted independently or purely out of personal motives, the employer might not be liable. Here are a few examples to illustrate the difference:

  • A eating place promises delivery in 30 minutes “or your side by side order is costless.” If a commitment person hits a pedestrian while driving frantically to crush the borderline, the visitor will probably exist legally responsible for the pedestrian’s injuries.
  • A engineering services visitor gives its sales staff visitor cars to make sales calls. After piece of work hours, a sales person hits a pedestrian while using the visitor machine to do personal errands. Nearly likely, the company will non be held responsible for the incident.
  • A law firm bug cell phones to all of its lawyers, to allow them to call into the office and check in with clients when they are on the road. A lawyer, driving, hits a pedestrian because she is completely engrossed in her telephone conversation with a senior partner in the business firm. The constabulary firm will probably have to pony up for the pedestrian’south injuries.
  • A medical billing company hires a fumigator, who sprays the company’s office with powerful pesticides. The next mean solar day, a dozen employees fall sick from the fumes. One of the affected employees is sent dwelling; on her way, she suffers a dizzy spell and hits a pedestrian. The company is probably on the hook.
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If you are sued nether this legal theory of respondeat superior, your employee’due south victim generally won’t have to evidence that y’all should have known your employee might cause harm, or even that you did anything demonstrably wrong. If your employee caused the injury while acting within the telescopic of employment, you will have to respond to the victim.

Workers’ compensation generally protects you from lawsuits by injured employees.
If an employee injures a coworker while acting within the scope of employment, the coworker probably won’t be able to sue your company. Instead, the coworker can make a workers’ compensation claim to receive payment for lost wages, medical bills, and and so on. Employees can sometimes sue outside the workers’ bounty system if their injuries were acquired by their employers’ intentional misconduct, merely that generally won’t exist the case if they are hurt by some other employee who is but doing his or her chore.

Careless Hiring and Retention

Under a different legal theory, someone who is injured by your employee can sue yous for failing to take reasonable care in hiring your workers (“negligent hiring”) or in keeping them on subsequently learning the worker poses a potential danger (“negligent retention”). This rule applies even to what your workers do outside the scope of employment — in fact, it is often used to hold an employer responsible for a worker’s violent criminal acts while working, such every bit rape, murder, or robbery.

Still, nether this theory you are legally responsible only if yous acted carelessly — that is, if y’all knew or should accept known that an applicant or employee was unfit for the job, withal you did nothing about it.

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Here are a few situations in which employers have had to pay up:

  • A pizza company hired a delivery driver without looking into his criminal past — which included a sexual assault conviction and an arrest for stalking a women he met while delivering pizza for some other visitor. After he raped a customer, the pizza franchise was liable to his victim for negligent hiring.
  • A motorcar rental company hired a man who afterward raped a coworker. Had the company verified his resume claims, it would have discovered that he was in prison for robbery during the years he claimed to be in high schoolhouse and college. The company was liable to the coworker.
  • A furniture company hired a delivery human without requiring him to fill up out an awarding or performing a background check. The employee assaulted a female customer in her home with a knife. The company was liable to the customer for negligent hiring.

Avoiding Claims of Negligent Hiring or Memory

Many states have allowed claims for negligent hiring and negligent retentivity. Although these lawsuits accept not yet appeared in every state, the articulate legal trend is to allow injured 3rd parties to sue employers for hiring or keeping on a dangerous worker. What can you lot do to stay out of trouble? Here are a few tips:

Perform Background Checks

Make information technology your policy to run a routine background check before y’all hire an applicant. Verify data on resumes, look for criminal convictions (to the extent immune in your country), and check driving records. These simple steps will weed out many unsafe workers and help you show that yous were non devil-may-care in your hiring practices. For more than information on checking out applicants, see Nolo’s article Running Background Checks on Job Applicants.

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Use Special Intendance in Hiring Workers Who Will Take a Lot of Public Contact

You are more than probable to be held responsible for a worker’south actions if the job involves working with the public. These workers all require more conscientious screening:
workers who get to a customer’s home (to make deliveries, perform home repairs, or manage apartment buildings, for example)
workers who deal with vulnerable people such as children, the elderly, or people with disabilities, and
workers whose jobs give them access to weapons.

Root Out Problem Employees Immediately

Under the theory of negligent retention, you can be responsible for keeping a worker on your payroll subsequently you learn (or should have been aware) that the worker poses a potential danger. If an employee has fabricated violent threats confronting customers, brings an unauthorized weapon to piece of work, or racks up a few moving violations, you have to have immediate action.

Employees Cannot Be Held Legally Responsible for an Environmental Violation

Source: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/employer-liability-employees-bad-acts-29638.html