Is an independent contractor liable for another independent contractor’s criminal behavior?

In a reflexology spa where all employees are “independent contractors,” would one contractor be held liable if another is guilty of soliciting prostitution, robbery, or fraud?

Asked on August 29, 2011 Nevada


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A person is not criminally liable for the actions of another unless the first person in some way contributed to, joined in, directed, conspired with, helped, or profited from (e.g. was paid by) the second person's criminal actions. If he or she did these things, then he or she could be criminally liable as an accomplice, as a co-conspirator, etc.

A person would similar not be civilly liable (e.g. couldn't be sued) for the actions of another if he or she had no role in them. However, for civil liability, if the first independent contractor subcontracted to or hired the second one, the first contractor could possibly be sued for the actions of the first.

The company hiring the conrtractors could, whenever the current contract with a contractor is up, choose to not contract with him or her again--such as they felt the first contractor was in some way "tainted" by the behavior of the second--even if criminal or civil liability were not established.

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