In most states, employers are not automatically responsible for sexual assault or sexual abuse perpetrated by an employee simply because they employ the perpetrator. The legal term for this is vicarious liability. Rather, employers can be found responsible for the sexual assault or sexual abuse of their employees when, in the exercise of reasonable care, they should have taken action which would have prevented the sexual assault or sexual abuse. Examples of this include circumstance when employers fail to properly screen an employee before hiring him or her. Most people would agree that if a daycare operator hires someone who has previously been convicted of sexually assaulting or sexually abusing children the daycare provider should be held liable if the perpetrator sexually assaults or sexually abuses again. But what if the prior criminal offense is less obvious, such as providing alcohol to minors or non-sexual assault? I would argue that our children are the most vulnerable members of society, and those who have taken it upon themselves to employ the people who supervise our children must vigorously screen the potential worker and disqualify them at the first sign of a red flag.
This is just one theory under which an employer can be responsible for the actions of it’s employee. Andreozzi + Foote have represented survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault from across the country. We have sued large and small institutions, including but not limited to churches, day cares, schools, and many other organizations and companies for their failing to properly screen employees. If you or someone you know has fallen victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault and needs a lawyer, or maybe just some legal guidance, do not hesitate to call our office. We do not charge for phone consultations, and even if we cannot be of assistance we will do everything we can to help point you in the right direction.