The family of a victim in the Accent Signage workplace shooting incident has sued the company. The case may cause some to question how a company could be held responsible for the heinous act of an employee. One answer is that under Minnesota law, employers can be held legally liable for negligently supervising or retaining employees.
These claims arise when an employer knows or should know that an employee is violent or aggressive and might engage in conduct that would injure others. The initial focus is mostly on what the employer knew or should have known about the violent propensities of the employee. If the evidence supports that element, then the employer owes a duty to protect others from the employee’s threat of harm. The focus is then on whether the employer breached that duty by failing to take precautions to protect others and whether or not that breach caused the harm suffered by others.
Thus, when an employer knows or should know that an employee poses a risk of harm to others, the employer owes a duty to take reasonable precautions to protect its other employees. Whether that duty exists and what precautions are needed vary on the facts and circumstances of each situation and workplace. For more information, stop in or call us at (320) 763-3141.