Ibarra v. Ross Dress for Less, Inc., 350 So. 3d 465 (Fla. 3d DCA 2022)

Even if at work, dressed for work and wearing a work badge, an employee is not thought to be acting within the scope of his or her employment if not on duty on the employer’s behalf when the incident occurs.

The Third District affirmed the trial court’s decision to enter summary judgment in favor of the employer. One of the employer’s employees, Maria Rosario, hit the plaintiff with her shopping cart at approximately 5:29 PM. Rosario was wearing her work clothes and employee badge, but she was not scheduled to start work until 6 PM and did not clock in for work until 5:58 PM. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer cannot be held liable for the tortious or criminal acts of an employee, unless the acts were committed during the course of the employment and to further the purpose or interest, however excessive or misguided, of the employer. This opinion notes that there was no genuine dispute of material fact that Rosario was not on duty or acting on her employer’s behalf when the incident occurred, and thus, the trial court properly awarded the employer summary judgment.



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