A number of legal issues arise when an employee of a company commits assault on one of its customers. The lines of liability can be blurred, not least because the crime occurs on a business premises. Moreover, the employees are deemed to be working on behalf of their company during office hours. A distinction has to be made between the personal liability of the employee and the corporate liability of the employer. A good lawyer is the key to success in any case.
The first critical consideration is that the employee who has committed the assault is criminally liable for those ctions. When it comes to the civil cases, the employer may be asked to compensate the customer for any demonstrated injuries. Such was a case when a number of ex-bouncers admitted to assaulting customers in a club based within the Chelmsford area of Chicago.
Case Study of Employees Who Commit Assault During Business Hours
The actual sentencing was not that significant. It amounted to suspended sentences and community service. Normally, such violent offences would attract significant custodial sentences under the law on grievous bodily harm. This case was interesting from a legal point of view because the assaults happened outside the club rather than within it. It was possible to raise arguments and disputes about the location, but these did not turn out to be important considerations for the prosecutor.
The Moulsham Street case may also have incorporated issues of provocation and intoxication, which can be mitigating circumstances in certain restricted situations. In any case, the defendants (Paul Dixon, 46; Edward West, 35) admitted their crimes. This is normally an effective way of reducing a sentence that would otherwise be severe under Chicago law on grievous bodily harm. The courts give credit for admissions because they save time and save the victim from appearing in open court.
The other issue that was in favor of the defendants is the fact that the bodily harm was without intent. The law in Chicago is definitive when it comes to these details because they not only determine guilt but also the possible sentencing. A person whomerely intended to eject a client from the premises without malice is different from a defendant who has planned and executed the whole thing with cold precision.
The courts are interested in determining the Mens Rea of these cases to the extent of making inferences that are based on the behavior of the defendant. Of course, if there is an element of hate crime or bigotry, then these are considered to be aggravating circumstances.
Some Measures for Employees and Employers in Such Situations
First of all, it is important for employees to always act in a proportionate manner when on official duty. It is not enough to state that you were working under rules or orders. Following the findings of the Nuremberg Trials, it is now common practice to consider the personal responsibility of the officer acting on duty. This is the causation and responsibility provision of the law. Just because a nightclub owner has a policy of ejecting certain clients does not give the bouncer the right to eject them violently.
For employers, it is always advisable to have health and safety in mind when designing such outlets. That means considering the responses and needs of paying customers. It also means having a policy that clearly states that violence is not tolerated within the organization. If there are out-of-court options such as paying compensation, then these should be pursued. Both employers and employees who are faced with a grievous bodily harm charge can contact David Freidberg Attorney at Law at telephone number 312-560-7100.
(image courtesy of Alex Holyoake)