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How to Prove Employer Negligence for an Employee's Bad Acts Under NY Law


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1/1/2016
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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.



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