State v. Schallock

In State v. Schallock, 189 Ariz. 250, 255-261, 941 P.2d 1275, 1280-86 (1997), the Arizona Supreme Court discussed the doctrine of an employer's vicarious liability arising from an employee's actions within the course and scope of employment. Schallock rejected the language in Smith v. American Express Travel Related Services Co., 179 Ariz. 131, 136, 876 P.2d 1166, 1171 (App. 1994), which held that an "employer was not vicariously liable for a supervisor's harassment and sexual assaults on an employee because the supervisor's acts were not expressly or impliedly authorized by the employer or in furtherance of its business." 189 Ariz. at 256, 941 P.2d at 1281. The court held that this language implied that "an employer is never vicariously liable for an intentional tort," which was too broad a holding. Id. The Arizona Supreme Court observed that, when a supervisor harasses employees while performing his authorized duties, the harassment can be incidental to his work and thus within the scope of his employment. Id. at 258, 941 P.2d at 1283. Even though a supervisor may harass from some personal desire, he commits the harassment in the course and scope of performing his duties, so long as he is authorized to perform those duties. Id.