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Vicarious Liability

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Can a company be held liable for the actions of its employees – even if the employer wouldn’t approve?

You know what’s more disgusting than finding a hair in your food? Finding a hair that’s not from someone’s head. Ugh.

When a man visited a Texas Roadhouse Restaurant, he complained about the food. The cook gave him a replacement steak to take home. With a hair on top. On purpose. The man took it to the police, who arrested the cook for placing foreign objects in edibles.

Yep. There’s a law against that. Which is good.

But the customer didn’t stop there. He then sued Texas Roadhouse for vicarious liability, a legal principle under which an employer is held liable for the actions of its employees. So while acting within the scope of his employment – acting as a cook – the employee has to act in a responsible manner and it’s the employer who can be held liable if he doesn’t, just as the employer benefits when the employees behave appropriately – by not having customers gag at the thought of what their cooks are doing.

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