Little Big Corporation hired Stuart as a delivery driver. Before Stuart was hired, the personnel director of Big Little Corporation not only interviewed Stuart and asked him about his driving record and the status of his driver’s license, but the personnel director also obtained an official driving record for Stuart and talked with Stuart’s former employer specifically about Stuart’s driving record. There was no indication from the interview with Stuart, from his driving record, or from Stuart’s previous employer that Stuart was an unsafe driver.
When Stuart was hired by Little Big Corporation, he was thoroughly trained in the operation of the delivery truck that he would be driving and provided an employee safety manual which he was required to (and did) read.
For seven years, Stuart worked as a delivery driver for Little Big Corporation without any accidents or problems. In Stuart’s eighth year as a delivery driver for Little Big Corporation, while making a delivery, he was distracted by something in the cab of his delivery truck, ran a stop sign and hit the car that was being driven by Peggy. Peggy suffered a broken leg and her car was badly damaged.
Peggy sued Stuart and Little Big Corporation for her injuries and damage, and she was awarded damages against Stuart and Little Big Corporation. Little Big Corporation was considered to be fully responsible for these damages under the doctrine of respondeat superior.
Is that fair to Little Big Corporation? What is accomplished by making an employer liable for the actions of their employees if the employer has done everything within reason to make sure that its employees are qualified and trained to do their jobs safely?
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