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California Employment Law
Copyright 2017, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

2-30 California Employment Law 30.syn


Employers' Tort Liability to Third Parties for Conduct of Employees


Kirby C. Wilcox;Mary Vail, J.D.

Chapter Summary


This chapter, Employers' Tort Liability to Third Parties for Conduct of Employees, discusses an employer's tort liability to third parties or persons other than the employer or its employees, based on the conduct of its employees. The chapter discusses tort theories involving fault on the part of the employer, as well as vicarious liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior. The chapter also discusses the rules governing whether an individual will be deemed an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of imposing tort liability on an alleged employer. Finally, the chapter covers employer defenses to third-party actions and indemnity issues.

The discussion of theories of the employers' direct or vicarious liability outlines the two primary bases for liability including when the employer's own conduct constitutes a tort or when the respondeat superior doctrine applies where torts of the employer's employees are committed within the scope of employment or agency. The chapter covers the employer's own negligence or fault as the basis for liability such as where the conduct was authorized, directed, or ratified by the employer, where the conduct resulted from negligent hiring or retention of an unsuitable employee, or negligent hiring, training or supervision of the employee, negligent misrepresentation regarding the risk of harm, or negligent entrustment. The chapter discusses the vicarious liability of the employer based on respondeat superior including bases for imposing respondeat superior liability.

The chapter also examines issues such as the employer's right of control, distinguishes employees and agents, distinguishes employees from independent contractors, and other categories such as "borrowed employees." Finally, the chapter covers employer liability for intentional torts, employer liability for punitive damages, defenses to respondeat superior actions, indemnity issues, liability for actions of independent contractors, and respondeat superior and Proposition 51.

Wilcox, California Employment Law (Matthew Bender) provides thorough coverage of California's extensive private employment laws and regulations. It discusses key statutes, regulations and case law, with practice notes and commentary throughout. It covers all key topics, including wage and hour laws; employee illnesses and injuries; employer liability to third parties for employee conduct; equal employment opportunity; employee privacy; wrongful termination; trade secrets and unfair competition; unemployment and state disability insurance; and alternative dispute resolution.


California employment law,employer tort liability to third parties,employer liability for employee conduct,employer fault,vicarious liability,respondeat superior,independent contractor,third-party actions,indemnity,employer direct liability to third parties,negligent hiring,negligent training,negligent supervision,negligent entrustment,negligent misrepresentation,borrowed employees,Proposition 51


For discussion of contractual liability of employers for transactions entered into by employees with third parties, see Chapter 31. For discussion of liability of employers (and coemployees) for work-related injuries sustained by employees, see Chapter 20.


For discussion of the liability of public entity employers and their employees to third parties based on the acts or omissions of public employees, see California Torts, Ch. 60 (Matthew Bender).

For forms for use in actions by third parties against employers for damages caused by employees, see California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 248, Employer's Liability for Employee's Torts (Matthew Bender).

For additional coverage of labor and employment issues such as hiring to termination in the context of the rapid evolution of law on the state and federal level see Labor & Employment in CA: Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices (Matthew Bender).

See Labor and Employment Law (Matthew Bender) for complete guidance to federal and state labor and employment law.
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