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TexLaw, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Contracts, Wrongful termination and discrimination
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If my company is paying for an employees cell phone, and the

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If my company is paying for an employee's cell phone, and the employee is engaged in questionable behavior using the cell phone on personal time, is my company liable in any way for the actions of the employee?

Thank you for your question.

When you say "questionable behavior" can you please be more specific? Is this potentially criminal behavior or is it simply using the phone for purient/illicit behavior?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

She says she loans her pain pills to a friend sometimes and that the friend gives them back when they get their prescription filled and vice versa. However, I think she has different friends who do this with each other. They do have legitimate pain as far as I can tell. I am a physical therapist.

Ok, just so I'm on the same page with you:

So, you are saying that she is using her phone to set up pain pill trades with her friends?

Does she obtain the pain pills through your business?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, but she is my sister & has a history of drug problems. She is an lpn and lost her nursing license in the past, but could get it back if she would go through certain steps including drug rehab. She is afraid to renew it because she is afraid to be around easy access to drugs. She does have spinal stenosis, and I personally know that her friends she may be trading with do all have legitimate medical diagnoses also.

My sister is valuable at work, or I would just let her go. My question is mostly to decide whether I have to let her go, stop paying for her phone, or whether I don't even need to do anything.

Thank you for answering my question.

You as her employer do not have any liability regarding this particular usage of her phone. Under Louisiana law, an employer is liable for its employees actions under the doctrine of Respondeat Superior. In determining whether an employer is liable for the acts of an employee, the factors to be considered are whether the tortious act was primarily employment rooted, reasonably incidental to the performance of the employee’s duties, occurred on the employer’s premises, and occurred during hours of employment. LeBrane v.
Lewis, 292 So.2d 216 (La.1974). Stated another way, the issue is whether the tortious conduct of the employee so closely connected him or her in time, place, and causation to his or her employment duties as to be regarded a risk of harm fairly attributable to the employer’s business, as compared with conduct motivated by purely personal
considerations entirely extraneous to the employer’s interests. Id.

In this situation your employer is using the phone to trade perscription pills. This is unrelated to your business. Thus, you have no responsibility or liability in it and it does not affect your business.

If she were actually caught by the police and arrested, the worst that could happen is that your business phone records could be pulled for inspection and evidence through a subpoena. However, unless he is part of some sort of large scale perscription drug ring which is distributing to the public, then this will likely never become an issue.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,
TexLaw and 3 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you