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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13658
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I work family owned nursing home yrs as a trainer for the

Customer Question

I work for a family owned nursing home for 2 yrs as a trainer for the nursing staff about 10 mo ago an employee brought a python snake to work a BIG ONE he thought it would be funny to scare me with it more than once about 3 mo after this I started having really bad dreams and panic attacks and its getting worse. the guy still works there and when I see him witch is very rare I have flashbacks . I have been seeing a doctor for panic condition for years and I was so much better till the snake thing. what can I do if anything?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer.

You could bring suit against the employee for negligent infliction of emotional distress (or intentional infliction of emotional distress, if you can prove he specifically brought it in with the intent to scare you as opposed to say, just showing it off to people). The basic elements of emotional distress that you must prove are:

  1. the defendant’s conduct must have caused some kind of physical contact or impact (however minor), or
  2. the plaintiff must have been in the "zone of danger" of the defendant’s negligent act, or
  3. it must have been foreseeable that the defendant’s negligent conduct would have caused the plaintiff emotional harm.

Damages can include things like the (uninsured portion) of doctor visits, therapy, medication, missed work days, and so forth.

I don't see a successful claim against the nursing home because the employee wasn't working in the course and scope of his employment at the time. In other words, his superiors didn't tell him "Hey, we think it would be a great idea if you could bring in that very large snake you own and have it around our patients and other staff members." When an employer is directing an employee who then causes harm, that's different. For example, if an employer sends a driver out on a call, who then causes an accident and injures someone, the employer could be held liable. That is not, in my professional opinion, the case here, so your remedies, if any, lie with the employee.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he was working ON THE CLOCK he brings reptiles alot
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

I understand he was on the clock, that doesn't mean he was working in the "course and scope" of employment, however. In general, if an action is done in the ordinary course of a job, it is considered to be within the scope of the job or the employment. If a person is directed to do an action by his or her employer, that action is also considered to be within the scope of the job, even if it is not an ordinary job duty. Unless this person's job involves them working with reptiles at the home, or they are directed to bring the reptiles to work by the employer, it doesn't rise to the level of being within the employer's responsibility.