If a company sends an employee on a business trip for training but the employee has a drinking problem and causes an accident, can the employer be held liable?

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If a company sends an employee on a business trip for training but the employee has a drinking problem and causes an accident, can the employer be held liable?

The employer was not aware of the employee’s drinking problem.

Asked on January 27, 2015 under Business Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, an employer is not liable for an employer's tortious act (e.g. drunk driving) *unless* the employer had knowledge of the employee's problem/condition and, despite having knowledge, did not take steps to avoid accidents, such as not sending the employee to events with alcohal, terminating the employee if his/her job involved alot of drinking (so that he/she posed an unreasonable risk), etc. So if the employer had no knowledge of the drinking problem, it should no be liable.

Furthermore, if the drinking and accident occured after working hours and not at a job-related function, the employer would not be liable for what the employee did on his/her time, even on a business trip.


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