When you're an employer, there's a good chance one of your employees could do something that gets you sued. What you can do about it will depend on the situation. In most cases, your general liability insurance policy should protect you.
General Theory: Respondeat Superior
Respondeat superior is Latin for "let the superior or master answer." It means that you have to answer for your employee's actions. Or, more directly, that you can be sued for something your employee did. As with any legal situation, it depends on exactly what happened.
Something You Told Your Employee To Do
You have the highest likelihood of being liable when your employee did something you directly told them to. For example, let's say you tell your employee to mop the floors and a customer slips and falls on the wet floor. Since you, as the employer, directed the action that led to the injury, you can be sued by the customer.
Something You Didn't Tell Your Employee Ro Do
You may also be liable if your employee did something that you didn't directly tell them to. This is particularly the case if what the employee did was either implied as something that goes with their job or was a natural consequence of their job. For example, an employee might cause a traffic accident while speeding to a delivery. You may not have told them to speed, but if you emphasized fast deliveries, that could be enough to make you liable. Another situation might be if you told your employee to hang something overhead while customers were walking underneath and they dropped something on someone's head. You didn't tell them to drop something, but it's a natural risk of the work you directed.
Your Employee Didn't Do Their Job Properly
You can even be liable in situations where your employee ignored your instructions. For example, let’s say you own a landscaping company and you told your workers to stop weed whacking if anyone got within 10 yards of them. If they don't stop, and cause something to hit someone's eye, that person could still make a general liability insurance claim against you. Employees not following your instructions and procedures to the letter is a reasonable expectation when you're in business. You may think your employee should pay instead, but local labor laws often prevent this.
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