Baltimore, MD Employment Torts Defense Attorney

Ken C. GauveyPersonal Injury Attorney

Employers face liability from a variety of state and Federal laws. Discrimination, sexual harassment, age and wage discrimination, there seems to be an endless array of theories that an employee can use when they want to file a suit against an employer. One area that has seen a rapid increase in claims is the general category of employment torts. While there is the civil tort system, which is widely used, employment torts have begun to become more prevalent and more commonly used as a method for employees to attempt to overcome statutory caps, or to provide additional bases for liability other than some of the theories mentioned above.
As an employer, you should be aware of some of the most often utilized torts in employment litigation and how they can impact you and your business.

Intentional Interference of Contract in Maryland

Contracts are used everywhere and the entire employer-employee relationship is often if not always centered on a contract.  In the employment relationship, an intentional interference with contract occurs when the employer interferes with a contract between the worker and a third party. As with most civil torts, intentional interference with contract can be distilled down to the following elements:

(1) The existence of a contract;

(2) The tortfeasor’s (in this context, the employer’s) knowledge of the contract;

(3) Intentional procurement of its breach; and

(4) Resultant damages

In order for an employee to sustain a claim for intentional interference with business relations, the employee or worker needs to be able to prove and demonstrate an “expectancy” that is “commercially reasonable” to anticipate.  This claim is often filed with some of the other business torts, which will be discussed below.

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Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Over the past few decades, it seems that the court has been more sympathetic to employee’s emotional health and well being. While there are valid reasons why an employee may experience a traumatic event, many employees will claim that what might be very normal conduct is somehow outrageous.
In order to set forth a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress an employee must allege:

 (1) extreme and outrageous conduct that

(2) intentionally or recklessly caused

(3) severe emotional distress to another.

In order for an employee to successfully bring this claim, however, they must demonstrate that the employer’s actions were “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community. However, this is a confusing standard for many because it looks to what might be public policy and leaves much room for interpretation. In addition, D.C Courts have held employers to heightened standards of behavior when they have employees, “who it is reasonable to assume are particularly susceptible to emotional distress.”

Negligent Hiring and Supervision

Almost every employer will tell you that they want their staff to be well trained so that they do not feel like they have to babysit the employees. Often their concern is what happens if their employee does something they are not supposed to do and these actions result in injury to another person. This is a good cause for concern because an employer can be held liable for negligently hiring an incompetent or unfit employee if the plaintiff can show that the employer knew or should have known that another worker had a propensity, meaning a likelihood, to commit some sort of job-related misconduct.

Invasion of Privacy

Invasion of privacy as a tort matter is very interesting because it naturally runs into other areas of law chiefly Constitutional law. With this intersection of the law, litigants also run into preconceived notions of what things are private and what things aren’t.
Invasion of privacy is the intrusion upon, or revelation of, something private. An employer who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his/her private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of privacy.

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The law of privacy consists of four distinct kinds of invasion.  The right of privacy is invaded when there is.
  1. Unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another,
  2. Appropriation of the other’s name or likeness,
  3. Unreasonable publicity was given to the other’s private life, and
  4. Publicity, which unreasonably places the other in a false light before the public.

An invasion of the right of privacy by anyone of the above four courses of conduct may give rise to a cause of action and, on occasion, there may be an overlapping or concurrent invasion by any or all of the above means working toward the injury of the plaintiff.

Trust a Baltimore Employment Law Lawyer to Handle Your Case

There are a wide array of litigation tools and causes of actions that an employee may use to bring a suit against an employer. Contact a Baltimore employment law attorney right away. Attorney Ken C. Gauvey has experience handling discrimination, business litigation, and employment defense cases throughout Maryland. Call 443-692-7685 to schedule your free and confidential legal consultation today.


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