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I own an energy brokerage for power deregulation. I work with

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I own an energy brokerage for power deregulation. I work with multiple energy companies, similar to a mortgage broker but for power. I had an employee that I think forged some of the contracts.

He was a 1099 employee and was not a direct w2 employee. My name does not appear on the contract. Only the energy companies name appears on the contract. I am also a 1099 employee of the energy companies.

I believe the guy that worked under me forged some contracts. Could I be held responsible for his actions. Should I contact the authorities.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
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Sorry for the possible problem.

No, you could not be held criminally responsible nor liable for someone else's illegal act.

However, the company could potentially be civilly liable, although not criminally liable, for an employee or agent's wrongful conduct pursuant to the legal doctrine of respondeat superior and vicarious liability.

Respondeat superior (Latin: "let the master answer"; plural: respondeant superiores) is a legal doctrine which states that, in many circumstances, an employer is responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of their employment. [Wikipedia]


Vicarious liability is a form of strict, secondary liability that arises under the common law doctrine of agencyrespondeat superior – the responsibility of the superior for the acts of their subordinate, or, in a broader sense, the responsibility of any third party that had the "right, ability or duty to control" the activities of a violator. [Wikipedia]


So, I would challenge the person, ask for an explanation and if necessary and true that they did forge the documents in any way I would suggest you take immediate action to notice and correct the problem (including but not limited to getting the police involved).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I've terminated the employee and have now discovered that they were fired for check fraud in the past. I'm writing them a letter to discontinue what they are doing and informing them that I will disclose to customers and the suppliers we work with the reasons for their termination -- am I allowed to do this.


 


I've already asked them and they of course deny the action. Can I call the police and file a police report, would you recommend this

Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
As a matter of fact you have a duty and obligation to the company and the customers to correct the problem (if there is a problem) once discovered.

However, DO NOT disclose to 3rd parties that you fired the individual. I would just state that they are no longer in your employ - nothing more. Because, if something is wrong - you could be liable for defamation. As such, you want to say the least possible to anyone outside of your company.

If clearly a forgery - then you could file a complaint with the police certainly.

But say minimal to your customers that you fired him for forgery. I would limit my communication to - he is no longer in your employ - and nothing else.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I terminated the employ because of his past criminal record. I have proof of his conviction. I've told that I am allowed to disclose this because it is true.


 


Please read this link -- http://jobsearch.about.com/od/backgroundcheck/f/whatemployerscansay.htm


 


I'm going to write an email to the former employee and notify him that I will be contacting his previous customers and suppliers and notifying them of his conviction. I will do this to help protect the customers and suppliers from his actions. I'm I allowed to do this


 


 


 

Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
I would not do that - I would leave the matter as that he is no longer in your employ and say thing more.

I agree with that article. However, my usual advice to clients is - say minimal and the lease possible. It's also a reflection upon you, the employer, that you didn't perform a background check or perform your due diligence when you hired them becuase you didn't know they had a criminal background. Potentially, this is nothing but a downside for you and it would really serve you no useful purpose informing customers that he was criminally convicted of anything.

Just my opinion and advice given the current situation.

I agree with the articles statement, "Concern about lawsuits is why most employers only confirm dates of employment, your position, and salary."


Given your situation I would say the least amount and take care of the matter internally.




Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I want to inform the customers because he is going to go back and will slam the customer. He will have the customer sign another contract. I've already paid the employee the commission upfront.


 


If he slams the customer again the contract that they currently have will be void and I will lose the commission I paid him. So I could be out a substantial amount of money if I don't stop him.


 


I want to inform customers that we fired him due to his criminally background and request that they DO NOT sign anything he presents to them because they will have to pay large early termination fees.


 


I'm going to send an email to my former employee stating my acitons because I want to prevent him from doing this. I've already contacted some of his customers and he's already begun this. I also want to state in the letter that I will be contacting authorities which I will because I think this is the only thing that will stop him.


 


Due you agree with my actions, thanks

Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
OK, those are issues that you didn't explain originally.

Given your fears as to his potential actions - you would be within your legal rights to inform customers that you terminated his employ because he wasn't truthful in his application and he was a convicted criminal. That's certainly legal for your to do such.

You can also caution them about signing any contracts with him concerning your business - because he is no longer employed by your company and has no power to enter contracts on it's behalf.

I would inform the past employee that he is tortiously interferring with contractual/business relations and that any continuation of such will mandate that you seek all your available remedies including but not limited to pursuing both criminal and civil actions against him.

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tortious interference noun encouraging a breach, infringing on another's agreement, innerfering with contract, interfering with contractual commitments, interfering with contractual obligation, interferrng with contractual rights, intermeddling, intermeddling with business activities, obstruction, work against anothers contractual relationship, wrongful interference with busiiess relationships, wrongful interference with contractual relationships [http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/tortious+interference]


Tortious interference with contract rights can occur where the tortfeasor convinces a party to breach the contract against the plaintiff, or where the tortfeasor disrupts the ability of one party to perform his obligations under the contract, thereby preventing the plaintiff from receiving the performance promised. The classic example of this tort occurs when one party induces another party to breach a contract with a third party, in circumstances where the first party has no privilege to act as it does and acts with knowledge of the existence of the contract. Such conduct is termed tortious inducement of breach of contract.

Tortious interference with business relationships occurs where the tortfeasor acts to prevent the plaintiff from successfully establishing or maintaining business relationships. This tort may occur when a first party's conduct intentionally causes a second party not to enter into a business relationship with a third party that otherwise would probably have occurred. Such conduct is termed tortious interference with prospective business relations, expectations, or advantage or with prospective economic advantage. [Wikipedia]

Law Pro, Criminal Defense Lawyer
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Great thanks I will do just that I'm typing an email stating that I will be contacting his former clients and then letting them know of his actions and to not sign any contracts. I will also let him know in the email that we will be contacting the authorities which we will be


 


Thanks again

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