Cana sue the gym if a staff member stealing my personal belongings?

A gym staff member had my expensive glasses in her possesion. She left me a voicemail clearly stating that she had them and they were being held at the front desk. Now the gym cannot find them. Is the gym liable? Is this considered theft? Can I sue?

Asked on June 21, 2017 under Business Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A business (or person) typically cannot be held legally responsible for the criminal acts of another, even if the wrongdoer was an employee. That is so long as the business did not participate in any way in the commission of the crime. That having been said, many state courts have held that an employer must use reasonable care when hiring a worker and there may be some liability when an employer knew or should have known that the employee posed a risk to others. For example, if the worker previously faced similar charges, an employer could be held liable for their actions.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not sue the gym for the criminal actions of another person--even one of their staff. One person (or business) is not responsible for the criminal acts of another person unless they participated in, directed, assisted, or caused the crime; otherwise, someone deciding to break the law is beyond their anticipation and control, and so they are not liable.

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