Ethical and Criminal Responsibility
An employer has the ethical obligation to take corrective or preventive action when the employer knows that the employee poses a danger to others. This is because the employee is a representative of the employer, to imply that the employer has an apparent authority that can be justifiably relied on in the representation. Besides that, common law recognizes that the employer has an obligation to protect the health and safety of others. This obligation clearly has application to avoiding danger of any kind, although any action must be adjudged as right if it serves the right of the larger population. Still, the employer must be careful not to trample the employee’s rights, particularly avoiding emotional distress, defamation and privacy invasion (Mann & Roberts, 2015; Miller & Cross, 2013). Therefore, an employee has an ethical obligation to take corrective or preventive action if an employee poses danger to others.
The employer can only take proactive action if there is irrefutable evidence that the employee poses a danger to others. This is because the employee also has rights that must be protected. Firstly, acting without proof could cause emotional distress, particularly if the employee did not intend harm. In such cases, the employee has cause of action against the employer for negligently or intentionally causing emotional distress. The law could hold the employer liable for causing the employee emotional distress. Secondly, it could result in defamation and malicious persecution if the action is based on false statement. In this case, the employer can be held liable for acting in reckless disregard of the falsity of the accusations. For that matter, the employee can bring a charge of defamation against the employer for acting without proof. Finally, it could result in an invasion of privacy if the invasion publicly places the employee in false light, intruding on and publicly disclosing the employee’s private affairs. If the evidence is based on an invasion of privacy and the employer does not provide sound reason for the invasion, the employee can bring invasion of privacy charges against the employer (Mann & Roberts, 2015; Miller & Cross, 2013). In this respect, the employer must have irrefutable evidence that is collected in the right way before any action can be taken since the employee’s rights must also be protected.
The employer has an ethical obligation to take corrective or preventive action when there is irrefutable proof that an employee is likely to harm others. In this case, the ethical obligation is owed to the stakeholders who include shareholders, other employees, and customers. This obligation will entail four principal features. Firstly, it will ensure that there is no conflict of interest and the employee serves the company in the best possible way. This ensures that the employer’s relationship with the stakeholders remains strong, and reputation remains clean. Secondly, it ensures that there is accountability, particularly in financial matters. While the opportunity to do harm might be present without being caught, ethical management ensures that there is alignment with company policy to punish the employees who are driven by unsavory motives. Thirdly, it ensures that all parties act with honesty, consistently presenting truthful information that facilitates informed decision-making. This presents honesty as the best policy and morally correct action. Finally, it facilitates job completion, present correct results for checks and evaluations of employee, particularly when direct supervision is not possible (Mann & Roberts, 2015; Miller & Cross, 2013). Therefore, employers have an ethical obligation to the stakeholders to ensure that corrective or preventive action is taken when there is proof that en employee poses danger to others.
The employer has an ethical duties to employees accused of endangering others. In this case, the ethical duties are centered on the employee’s welfare, an enduring concern that presents good working conditions. For that matter, the employer has an ethical duty to treat the employee with respect and fairness, ensuring that they do not abuse their power in mistreating the employees. Additionally, the employee must protect the employee who made the report, actively discouraging dishonest reporting. Besides that, any punishment or preventive action must match the offense, neither being light nor heavy punishment. For instance, it would be morally wrong to terminate an employee for being intoxicated while on the job, especially if the individual has been a model employee and that is the first offense (Mann & Roberts, 2015; Miller & Cross, 2013). In this respect, the employer has the moral obligation to treat the employee with respect and fairness.
The scenario demonstrates a number of potential torts. Firstly, an indemnity tort can be brought against the employer as a tortfeasor and for having a special relationship with the employee who committed the wrong. Secondly, vicarious liability brought against the employer as the superior risk taker and if found guilty of neglecting to supervise the employee. Thirdly, negligence tort brought against the employer for failing to adequately supervise the employee. Fourthly, harassment tort brought about by the employer’s direct negligence for hostile workplace. Fifthly, negligent hiring tort since the employer should have foreseen the tortuous acts by the employee even though the action was outside the employer’s scope of duties. Sixthly, negligent infliction of emotional distress through the employer’s direct negligent action of failing to supervise the employee. Seventhly, compensatory damages for suffering and pain. Finally, punitive damages if the employer suspected that the employee intended to harm others. The identified torts are brought for foreseeability matters since it is assumed that the risky action must have come about progressively and not at once, implying that the employer could have prevented it by noting behavioral changes (Mann & Roberts, 2015; Miller & Cross, 2013).
Potential criminality liability cases can be brought against both the employee and employee. In this case, the criminal liability case will be brought against the employee for endangering another person. Although the act may not be considered as work related misconduct under respondeat superior it was not done within the scope of work, criminal action can still be brought against the employer. In fact, the employer can be sued for carelessly hiring and retaining an employee who has the potential for harming others and engaging in violent criminal acts. As such, the employee approaches to dealing with problem employees will be reviewed. In addition, the employee hiring process will be checked to see whether adequate background checks were conducted and if the employees with public contact were hired with care (Mann & Roberts, 2015; Miller & Cross, 2013). Therefore, criminal liability action can be brought against both the employee and employer.
Mann, R. & Roberts, B. (2015). Essentials of Business Law and the Legal Environment, 12th ed. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Miller, R. & Cross, F. (2013). The Legal Environment Today: Business in its ethical, regulatory, e-commerce and global setting, 7th ed. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
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