Portland, OR asked in Products Liability and Employment Law for Oregon

Q: I am a fleet manager for a rental car company. What is the liability for patching gas tanks and renting cars out?

I cannot find any reputable shop to perform this job.

The gas tank is plastic and not metal.

I have expressed my concerns and have been overruled by management and instructed to proceed.

We have found a non-certified individual to work as a 1099 to perform the repairs using an epoxy (JB Weld).

What is my exposure? Should I resign?

What is the company's exposure?

Are there any legal standards that I can find to show management?

1 Lawyer Answer
Jina Ly Clark
Jina Ly Clark
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: I am not a mechanical expert. But it sounds like you are being instructed to make repairs to vehicles in a negligent manner that could lead to harm. Your employer is responsible for your actions under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Theoretically, if someone were harmed they could hire a civil attorney and sue for damages. You also have an employment issue. I do not specialize in employment law, so I would suggest you contact a lawyer who specializes in employment law on the best way to handle your employer. If you are being asked to do something that could cause someone injury, I think you have a moral duty to refuse regardless of whether you will ever be legally liable. This, of course, could cause you to lose your job. Thus, I would recommend documenting in writing why you refuse to do something that could cause someone injury. Refusing your boss's orders could cause you to get fired, which is why you would want to document your objection. I think an employment attorney would be in a better position to advise you regarding the best strategy in dealing with this situation.

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