Did you know that you may be liable for damages or injuries caused by your employees? According to the legal principle of negligent supervision, you may be sued if you fail to supervise or train an employee, and your laxity leads to an injury or damage. Here are three examples to show how negligent supervision occurs in practice:
The Work-At-Home Accountants
You run an accounting firm that offers services to small businesses in your area. Your employees are supposed to do all their work in their offices. However, they occasionally have to carry home some of their work, especially if you are flooded by clients. Although you can't supervise what they do at home, you don't mind this too much because they get more work done this way.
After some time, one of your clients accuses you of laundering his or her money. It turns out that that two of your employees had been taking confidential documents home in the guise of working from home. In a real sense, these employees had been conspiring to defraud both you and your clients. This is a clear case of negligent supervision.
The Drunken Machine Operator
One of your employees is always drunk; sometimes he or she even drinks on your premises. You have cautioned him or her several times, but you can't let him or her go (or take stern action) because he is one of your hardest-working machine operators.
One day, he or she mishandles the machine he or she is in charge of. The machine ends up injuring potential customers that you had been showing around your workshop. If it turns out that the injuries are linked to the machine operator's drunkenness, then you may be accused of negligent supervision.
The Sexual Pervert
Suppose one of your supervisors (a very hard working one at that) is constantly harassing the people under his or her care. He or she touches the others inappropriately, sends them sexually explicit messages and has even threatened to "discipline" an employee for refusing to give in to his or her demands. Suppose you are aware of these allegations, have been meaning to "do something" about them, but have been preoccupied with other "important" work. In this case, the affected employees may sue the supervisor for sexual harassment and sue you for negligent supervision.
One way to defend an accusation of negligent supervision is to prove that you were not aware of it and could not have known about your employee's propensity to the act. It's also possible to escape the liability by denying that you have an employer-employee relationship with the perpetrator. There are other possible defenses besides these two; consult a lawyer like someone at Weathers Law Firm, LLC to help you determine which route to take.