The Restroom Peeper -- Rehired to Peep Again

You can't make this stuff up!  

David Chavez, a cashier for QuikStop in Caruthers, California, was arrested, and convicted, of recording persons using the store restroom.  In January a court placed Chavez on probation for his crime.  Believe it or not, QuikStop rehired Chavez.  Within days a customer discovered Chavez recording again.  The customer grabbed the telephone and gave it to police.  Apparently, Chavez has admitted to the recent act.  

Clearly, Chavez has issues.  So does the store owner.  I'm thinking lawsuit!  

Employers can be held liable for the acts of an employee under one of two theories.  Under the doctrine of respondent superior, an employer is liable for the acts of an employee taken in the course and scope of employment.  I imagine, however, that recording customers in the restroom is not within the course and scope of an employee's job.  In my opinion, the store could wage a good defense on a claim of respondent superior liability.  

An employer can also be held liable for the acts of its employees under the theory that the employer itself acted negligently.  In this case, the most recent victim of the secret recording can claim the store acted negligently by rehiring a man who was criminally convicted of peeping at the store.  (The first customer may not have as good of a claim, however, because the store could argue there was no way it could have known that Chavez would peep on customers in the restroom.)  Employer negligence appears to be a very viable claim and I would expect that the customer would consider legal action.  

What is such a claim worth?  How would you feel if it was you or a family member who was violated?  And given the fact that the employer rehired the employee after the criminal conviction, there is a good claim for punitive damages.  

We live in a crazy world!  Try to keep your workplace sane by making smart hiring decisions.  And of course, always conduct some form of background check to help determine if someone has engaged in behavior that could jeopardize your customers, clients or patients.