If I’m a private school educating children ages K-12 and I let my music and art teachers teach privately at my school, how liable am I for their misconduct?

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If I’m a private school educating children ages K-12 and I let my music and art teachers teach privately at my school, how liable am I for their misconduct?

If they are collecting payments under their name or business name, am I still implicated in their business as it is occurring on my property? Or more simply put, if they sexually assault a student, will I still get sued? How can I prevent this?

Asked on January 28, 2016 under Business Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

IF they did not work for you otherwise, but were purely independent, if all you did was rent space to them, you would not be liable for their misdeeds--a landlord, etc., is not liable for his/her tenant's or renter's actions. But they work for you, which means that depending on the situation, you could be held accountable as their employer even if they are teaching on the side at the time--or at least, you could expect to get sued and have to defend the case and prove they were not working for you then (since if they are your employees, the presumption is that they are teaching at your school in the course of their employment).
You can increase your protection by requiring them to have contracts with students' families which make it clear that the family is hiring them, not your school, and gettng copies of those contracts  for your files; making sure  you do not get involved in their teaching *at all*; having them maintain insurance which names you as a covered party; and having them execute agreements in which they agree to indemnify you (compensate or reimburse you) for any costs, losses, liability, etc. you incur due to them teaching privately. An attorney can draft the relevant documents for you--it would be a good idea to go to a lawyer to do this.


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