Employer Liability for Workplace Violence
Employer liability for workplace violence can be derived from a number of different theories under Virginia law. These theories include negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent supervision, respondeat superior (the employee committing violence while being in the scope of employment), failing to provide adequate security or take reasonable safety measures, breach of contract, and failing to have adequate anti-harassment and other policies in place.
How Can an Employer Be Liable for Violence in the Workplace?
A classic example of employer liability is negligent hiring – something that can be prevented with proper hiring practices. The tort of negligent hiring was first recognized by the Supreme Court of Virginia in J. v. Victory Tabernacle Baptist Church, 234 Va. 206, 372 S.E.2d 391 (1988). In Victory Tabernacle, a mother brought an action against a church and its pastor, alleging her ten-year old daughter had been raped and sexually assaulted by a church employee, and that the church knew or should have known when it hired the employee that he had recently been convicted of aggravated sexual assault on a young girl, and that he was instructed not to be involved with children as a condition of his probation. 234 Va. 206, 372 S.E.2d 391 (1988).
Learn More About Employer Liability for Workplace Violence
By implementing proactive policies, and engaging employees in the process, employers can help stymie the rising costs and incidents of violence in the workplace. Contact us to learn more about employer liability for workplace violence.