Negligence and Strict Liability – Ethical and Criminal Responsibility

Based on respondeat superior doctrine, an employer has control of the employee’s action, time and techniques of work. To ensure that an employee stays as within the required limit, the employer develop organization policies and code of conduct in which employees must follow. These policies have consequences for not following the provided policies which include suspension, and termination, among others (Wellington, 2011). Employers also employ supervisors to ensure that employees are closely observed during their normal operation to ensure total commitment and efficiency. The supervisors have the responsibility of ensuring that workers observe the code of conduct set in the company and to observe good morals set by the law and the society. In case an employee demonstrate negative traits, the employer has the right to terminate the employee, or punish the employee in the best way possible based on its policies and the law. This way, the employer will manage to prevent any criminal harm that could be initiated by such employees. This will enhance workplace safety among all employees and the company’s customers or any other stakeholder.  An employer is expected to know his or her employees Thus en employer have an ethical duty to take preventive or correct action, in case the employer knows, or have a reason to believe that an employee poses a danger to others.

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Employer may act differently based on whether the employer has reasonable suspicion or irrefutable evidence over an employee, regarding the employee’s ability to cause harm to others. The presence of irrefutable evidence gives the employer the power to employ immediate action against an employee who poses danger to others. The immediate action is focused on protecting others from harm. This action can include termination, suspension or handing over an employee to the police based on the nature of danger the employee impose. Reasonable suspicion on the contrary does not give an employer enough power to employ drastic measures against an employee. Employees are protected by the law and unions. In this regard, an employer may need more evidence against employee to avoid complicated or unnecessary law suits. In this case, the employer should consider alerting other employee regarding the suspension and increasing supervision on the suspected employee. Preventive actions such as making the employee work where he or she cannot create great harm, or where he can be easily supervised by more than one individual would assist in prevention. Employees should be instructed to report on any act that seems suspicious done by the suspected employee. Failure to take the most suitable measures to prevent harm over a suspected individual may result to a negligence lawsuit against the company, in case the employee causes harm to others in the long or short-run (Fenton et al., 1997).

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The employer has ethical obligation to the company’s employees, clients or customers and other company’s stakeholders as well as the surrounding community. In case an employee poses danger to others, then an employee can easily extend his actions to those that surrounds him or her. The risk is especially high for those who works directly with the employee. In this regard, the preventive and corrective measures should consider all company’s stakeholders. The employer has a duty to ensure a safe and healthy work environment to workers and quality services to clients. The employer also has ethical duty to the company stakeholders who can be impacted by offensive acts in the company, by impacting company’s trade and reputation in the market. Similarly, the employer has duty toward the surrounding community who anticipate that the growth and establishment of a business in the surround will not in any way cause harm to them. Thus, preventive measures will be employed to protect workers, clients and the surrounding community from injuries or any other harm, and to prevent company’s shareholders from economic injuries due to destroyed reputation that can affect company’s general operations and gains in the market (Therese, 1998).

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The employer also have ethical obligation to an employee in that the employer should ensure that the employee is not given instructions or duties that would lead into harming others or even him or herself. In this regard, employer has ethical duty of protecting the employee from any harm or harming others via official employment duties assigned to the employee. Thus, if any employee is engaged in a dangerous mission the employee should wear protective gear as required and also those working in the surrounding should be informed to take similar measures or to vacate. The employer also has ethical duty of assigning right assignments to the right people and with the right tools. The employer should also consider the health condition of an employee while assigning duties to prevent harms that would be created due to inabilities or health attacks (Sponsor Section, 2007).

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The torts addressed in this case include tort of negligence. This tort refers to failure to behave the anticipated degree of care that individual with normal prudence would have behaved under similar circumstances. The behavior normally contain an action though can as well contain omissions if there are obligation to act (Sponsor Section, 2007). The other one is vicarious liability which refers to imposition of liability on an individual for tortious act done by a different person. This particularly happens when the employer has to answer on behave of an employee.

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Respondeat Superior is a common-law doctrine which was established in England in 17th century to define employer legal liability for the employee’s action. The doctrine offers a higher chance for an injured person to recover damages since the employer under respondeat superior is liable for damages caused by a worker who is performing within the employment relationship scope. Respondeat superior is guided by the theory that the principle (employer) controls the behavior of the agent (employee) and must therefore assume some duties for the actions of the agent. The principle entrust various business activity to the agent and the agent is required to act on the principle’s behalf (Burns, 2011).

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The principle has the right and ability to control the employee place, time, and techniques of working. Therefore if there is evidence that presence of employee-employer relation, the employer carries the responsibilities of damages caused by the worker during the employment time. In this case, the employee committed the crime during the work hour. Although the employee was not acting under the employer instruction, he committed the crime when he was supposed under the employer supervision. In this regard, the employer may be considered to be at fault since he failed in supervising an employee to a level that employee could afford to use his work time to commit a crime without being noticed or stopped (Fenton et al., 1997).

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