Lawsuits present a real hurdle for employers. Studies suggest that many small business owners will face the threat of civil litigation at some point. It is so common that the State requires most companies to secure a wide range of insurance coverage. These policies cover nearly any personal injury that occurs on business premises, but what about damages resulting from criminal conduct?

Last month, authorities arrested a daycare worker in Covington after a tape showed her abusing a child at Kiddie Kollege daycare, onsite and during work hours. This case provides an enlightening example for determining negligence.

Liability for criminal conduct

When parents found scratch marks on their 1-year-old son after attending Kiddie Kollege, they demanded to see the surveillance tapes. The tapes revealed an employee physically abusing their son. Despite the employee terminated and arrested, the employer may still be liable for the damages.

When an employee commits a criminal act while on the job, legal liability becomes difficult to identify. There are two distinct reasons why:

  1. Legally, employers account for employee behavior and must share in the results, good and bad. If an employer benefits from employee production (profit), they are also legally liable for harm.
  2. Courts invest themselves in making the victims whole. Employees are unlikely able to afford the costs of damages and would likely declare bankruptcy if so ordered. With insurance and assets and overhead, assigning liability to an employer offers a more favorable restitution.

Establishing employee liability

In the Kiddie Kollege case, the daycare may argue to hold the employee liable, as child abuse is likely considered outside the scope of employment. An investigation will examine the daycare’s hiring practices for negligence in how they perform background checks for employees. If their hiring practices were negligent in this regard, the employer is still liable.

Seek legal restitution

Those involved in a personal injury incident or criminal conduct at a place of business have found success using the services of a local personal injury lawyer to secure their due restitution. These professional services can help alleviate stress from victims (and their parents in the case of child abuse) so they can keep their efforts focused on recovery from the traumatic events surrounding their lawsuit.