As noted in my article “How NY Employee’s Bad Act Can Lead to Finding of Employer Negligence,” there is a doctrine in New York which holds that under certain circumstances, an employer can be held liable for its employees acts – even where those acts were clearly not undertaken in furtherance of the employer’s interests. One such example would be the upstate New York case of O’Keefe v. Supermarkets International, where a jury held the defendant supermarket responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries because the defendant ignored numerous complaints about the store clerks’ inappropriate behavior, and ultimately, the plaintiff was injured as a result. (Naturally, these claims are not limited to the personal injury realm.)
So how do you prove one of these claims?
The plaintiff is required to prove the following 4 things: (1) that defendant’s employee AB was demonstrably incompetent, a particularly poor disposition, or given to reckless behavior; (2) that defendant either knew or should have known about this problem; (3) that the defendant could reasonably have foreseen that this employee’s “issues” would be likely to result in harm or damage to others; and, (4) that the defendant nevertheless failed to undertake appropriate care to either correct or fire this employee.
Jonathan Cooper is a New York Business Litigation and New York Commercial Litigation Lawyer with a focus on New York breach of contract and New York business fraud claims before the Nassau, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Westchester and Suffolk County courts of New York State. For more information, feel free to contact his Long Island office at 516-791-5700.
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