Jail authorities responsible for quid pro quo sexual assault by supervisory personnel
The Court of Appeals held this week that even outside the employment sector, employers will be responsible for sexual misbehavior by employees in a supervisory role. Michigan Courts have previously held that employers are not responsible for sexually assaultive behavior by an employee, if the actions are ultra vires, or outside the employee's job responsibility (for example assaults on a patient by respiratory therapist or other ministerial employee). On the other hand, if the assaultive behavior occurs in a managerial employment context, the mutual employer has been held vicariously responsible.
in Hamed v. Wayne County, the Court of Appeals ruled that vicarious responsibility will also exist outside the employment context if the sexually manipulative behavior is facilitated by the assaulting individual's supervisory relationship.In Hamed, the plaintiff was transferred to a Wayne County holding cell after being arrested for failing to pay child support. Wayne County secured her custody to investigate a probation violation. In violation of regulations, Hamed was placed under the authority of a male turnkey who sexually assualted her. The assaulting deputy was convicted of the assault and his employment was terminated, however, the County argued that it was not responsible for his misbehavior. The reviewing court concluded that given the deputy's supervisory role, his employer would be held accountable for his abuse of the position.