Is an employer responsible for an employee’s legal costs?

A company has filed a civil complaint against a competing company, naming the company itself, its owner, and an employee. If the employee was acting strictly in his capacity as an employee working on behalf his employer, is employer responsible for legal costs employee may incur in defending against the suit?

Asked on July 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Maybe; maybe not.  Under a theory of law known as "respondeat superior", an employer can be held to be legally responsible for the actions of its employees if the employee is acting within the "course and scope" of employment. So the employer would cover the employee under their liability insurance.  I would speak with an attorney in your area and give them all the facts.  Good luck.


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