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Burger King Sued Over Onion Ring Taser, Knife Attack

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on October 10, 2014 2:12 PM

Burger King is facing a lawsuit after a man claimed he was attacked with a stun gun and a switchblade by a Burger King manager for complaining about cold onion rings.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month by a customer at a Burger King restaurant in Bloomfield, New Mexico, alleges that the restaurant's manager became violent after the customer asked for a following a dispute involving cold onion rings, reports Albuquerque's KRQE-TV. Now the customer is suing Burger King for negligent hiring.

What do employers need to know about negligent hiring lawsuits?

Negligent Hiring/Retention Liability

Employers are generally considered to have a duty of reasonable care not to hire or retain employees who may pose a threat to other employees or the general public. Failure to properly screen or check the background of employees or take action when an employee is known to be a threat to others may lead to liability if that employee's actions cause injury to another employee or a customer.

In this case, the customer's lawsuit alleges that there have been a string of problems at Burger King restaurants owned by the same group who owns the restaurant at which the customer was attacked. In addition, the lawsuit claims that the manager involved in the incident has been violent with co-workers and customers in the past.

Other Potential Sources of Employer Liability for Employee Acts

In addition to being liable for hiring potentially dangerous employees, employers may be held legally liable for the conduct of their employees in several other ways:

  • Vicarious liability. Employers are generally held liable for negligent or intentional acts of their employees that cause injury if the employee was acting in the course of their employment at the time.
  • Negligent training. If an injury to a customer or another employee was the result of a lack of training, an employer may be held liable.
  • Negligent supervision. Likewise, if an employer fails to reasonably supervise employees, the employer may be liable for injuries that are caused as a result of an employee's actions.

The manager involved in the lawsuit pleaded guilty to aggravated battery charges stemming from the incident, reports KRQE.

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