Asked in Employment Law for California

Q: Can an employer invoke the respondeat superior doctrine in a civil lawsuit ? Or does only the plaintiff can ?

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1 Lawyer Answer

Jonathon Howard Kaplan

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  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Respondeat superior is a well-established doctrine that says an employer is liable for the acts of its employees that are committed within the scope of their employment. The doctrine is used by plaintiffs to make businesses pay for damages caused by their employees. For example, if you are hit by a car that is being driven by a company's employee as part of his or her job duties, then you can sue the company for your injuries. The doctrine is not used the other way around where an employer can invoke it against the employee to sue for damages caused by the employee's negligence.

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