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Court determines Home Depot can be held liable for death

Louisiana workers may be interested to learn that Home Depot Inc. was sued for negligence and may be held liable after a pregnant employee was murdered at an offsite event in 2012. The employee’s murderer, who had been her supervisor, was convicted of homicide and sexual assault in 2014.

The company had argued that it was not responsible for the employee’s death as the murder did not occur on the company’s property. However, an appellate court ruled that the supervisor had the authority to reduce the employee’s hours or fire her altogether, which essentially gave him power that he may not have otherwise had. Additionally, store managers knew that the supervisor had a history of sexual harassment. In fact, the supervisor had even been ordered to take anger management classes, though the company reportedly never followed up on it.

Whether or not a company can be held liable for an accident or fatality that occurs offsite depends on certain circumstances. For example, it was determined that Home Depot I could potentially be found liable due to the fact that the supervisory employee used his company-given authority to commit the crime. Additionally, the company could also be considered negligent if it was reasonably foreseeable that the supervisory employee could harm another employee, such as a history of violence that shows up on a background check,

If an employee is killed in a foreseeable accident, the company that allowed the accident to happen through negligence may potentially be held responsible for the death. The family of the deceased employee may potentially file a lawsuit in order to recover compensation associated with the loss of their loved one. An attorney may help the family file the lawsuit and provide evidence showing that the company’s negligence played a part.

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