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Vicarious Liability

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(File photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

(File photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - When San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment including – but not limited to – putting women in headlocks, pinching their derrieres, grabbing, kissing, and making inappropriate requests, he argued that the city should have to pay for his attorneys fees. He argued that the city’s failure to train his office on sexual harassment was what led to the behavior (how could he know not to pinch women’s behinds after all).

The city’s response was basically an invitation for him to kiss their derrieres. But employers across the country need to know about a legal concept called vicarious liability which is what can cause companies to be held liable for the behavior of their employees whose acts in the scope of their employment have harmed others.

So, if you have employees who drive for you or meet clients or talk to coworkers, it is in your company’s best interest to provide training in all aspects of their jobs – even those that seem obvious – to ensure that they know the rules so they can’t argue that they didn’t know what was and wasn’t appropriate.

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