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When Can An Employer Be Held Legally Liable For An Assault Committed By An Employee?

Posted in Insurance Law,News on October 27, 2011

When Can An Employer Be Held Legally Liable For An Assault Committed By An Employee?

I am involved in several cases now where one of the issues is under what circumstances may an employer be held responsible for the acts, in my cases, heinous acts, of an employee.

Under the rule of “respondeat superior” an employer is legally responsible for the acts of its employees. This rule applies when an employee is acting within the scope and course of his or her employment. The employer will generally be liable if the employee was doing his or her job in carrying out company business or acting on the employers behest when the incident in question arose.

The purpose of this rule is to hold employers responsible for the costs of doing business which include the costs of an employee’s negligence, misconduct or carelessness. If the employee’s acts result in an injury this is deemed to be one the risks of the business and the employer will be responsible for the consequences. If the employee acted independently or purely out of personal motives, the employer might not be liable. A smart employer will have ample insurance coverage for the possibility of a major judgment against them that arose out of the actions of an employee.

An employer would be well served in performing criminal and other background checks on a prospective employee before hiring them. A party who is injured by an employee can sue an employer for failing to take reasonable action in hiring the worker or in retaining keeping them after becoming aware of the fact that the employee poses a risk of danger. These are referred to a negligent hiring and negligent retention respectively. These rules also apply to actions of an employee committed outside the scope of employment as well. If you have been injured at work, you should contact a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer from the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs as soon as possible.