Intentional torts committed by employees are difficult for employers to both anticipate and protect against. When an employee commits a criminal act against another employee or a third party, the law generally considers whether the employer knew or should have known that the employee posed a danger in deciding whether a duty to protect against the harm was owed. However, an employee’s dangerous propensity is often difficult to predict.  Employees rarely make overt criminal threats or give unambiguous indications that they intend to cause harm. Further, employers are judged in retrospect, and with the benefit of hindsight, in deciding whether seemingly innocuous comments or acts should have been taken as warning signs that the employee posed a danger.


On March 24, 2017, in Anicich v. Home Depot U.S.A., the Seventh Circuit extended the duty of Illinois employers to protect against criminal acts by an employee occurring away from the workplace, when a supervisor uses his or her “supervisory authority” to compel an employee to attend a private event under the threat of termination or job reduction.  The case arose out of a supervisor’s rape and murder of a subordinate employee during a trip to attend a family wedding in a different state, when the supervisor had previously threatened to either fire or reduce the employee’s hours if she did not attend.

To read the rest of the article, visit the HRUSA Law Blog at: