It depends. Agency law is all about asking when one party is responsible for the actions of another and what rights and obligations do those parties have to one another. This relationship is determined by the jury at trial.
Indeed, an employer who personally engages in no misconduct may be vicariously liable for the wrongful acts committed by its employee if the employee was acting within the course and scope of the employment. This is known as an agency relationship. “Agency” is the relationship which results from the manifestation of consent by one person to another that the other shall act on his behalf and subject to his control, and consent by the other to so act. While the existence of agency is typically a question that is determined by a jury, when the evidence is susceptible to one inference, then you may seek summary judgment on the issue.
Typically, principals (employers) are not found to be liable for the intentional acts of their agents (employees). Those actions are usually found to be outside the scope of employment and are committed without any intent to serve the employer.
However, there is an exception to this exclusion to this exclusion when the employee’s job is such that some part of the intentional tort might be characterized as being done with the intent of “serving the employer.”
For example, a bouncer who ejects a patron from a club, seriously injuring the patron, might be said to have done so with, at least a partial, intent to serve his employer. Different jurisdictions apply this exception differently.
There are also times when an employee is not acting within the scope of their employment. For example, if an agent has gone home for the evening, is driving to a party and gets into a car accident, that accident obviously has not occurred within the scope of the agent’s employment. In those cases, it must be determined whether or not the employee has “left” employment.
When an employee leaves employment to do something for personal reasons, that is known as a “frolic.” If an employee is still engaged in employment but strays only slightly from the direct assignment, that is known as a “detour.”
Importantly, “For an agency relationship to exist, the asserted principal must have a sufficient right to control the relevant aspect of the purported agent’s day-to-day operations.
If you need help with your business or employee, contact Rafael Rodriguez, business and employment attorney, at Rodriguez Lopez, APC. Rodriguez Lopez APC, can help your business from initial startup to defense. Click “Schedule an Appointment” to meet with attorney Rafael Rodriguez.
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