Employer’s Liability for Employees’ Bad Acts

In the case provided, the ABC apartment company employed the resident manger without verifying his criminal background. He used the passkeys of the apartment complex to stealthily enter an apartment and raped the tenant. But for background check this would not happened. Hence the employer ABC Apartment Company is liable for compensatory and punitive damages to the rape victim for having negligently hired the crime perpetrator. This based on the principles of respondeat superior, negligent hiring, and rules laid down by Restatement of Agency.

Employer’s Liability for Employees’ Bad Acts An employer’s liability for the acts of his employees is determined by rules of respondeat superior and negligent hiring. Restatement of agency and torts based on these rules provide basis for decisions. In the instant case, the manager of the apartment complex stealthily used the key of an apartment to enter and raped the occupant, presumably the tenant. The manager did the act when he was off-duty. In the light of this background, the case will be analyzed as per the said three rules. Respondeat Superior

Respondeat Superior means ‘let the master answer’ which implies that courts expects the employer to answer for any claim made due to the acts of employee on behalf of the employer as his agent. The term used for nearly two centuries signifies employer’s vicarious liability for his employee’s wrongful act. It however does not mean the agent or the employee is not liable. As the employer assumes himself to be the principal, the principle of respondeat superior is invoked. In a law, employer is named respondeat superior implying his liability and his response thereto.

(Chrissy & Company 2008) An employer may be liable for his employee’s acts only if the latter has acted in the course of his employment. Second Restatement of Agency, Section 228 (1957), as a servant’s conduct of the act he has been employed to perform and that the performance should have taken place within the specified time and place, has explained scope of employment. He should have acted to in furtherance of service to his employer and the employee should have acted forcing another not capable of being unanticipated by the employer.

(Vallie 2002) Thus the three elements to constitute respondeat superior are that (1) employee’s conduct should have been the one for which he was hired and performed to achieve that duty, (2) the employee’s conduct must have occurred within working hours and spatial boundaries of employment, and (3) that employee’s act must have been in furtherance of employee’s interest. Regardless of respondeat superior, an employer can be liable directly for acts or omissions in the process of hiring or supervising his employees.

In Ridge v. HCA Health Services of Kansas, Inc, it has been held that respondeat superior can be invoked where the employee has performed his duties within the scope of employment, the employer has been negligent or reckless and the supervisor held himself as to act on his employer’s behalf and with authority. In the litigation process, the employee involved should give testimony in depositions, produce evidences by means of records and documents, produce his personal records and information and also give testimony in a trial. (Sandberg and Elkins n. d)