williams 386 so2d at 1241 answering the first of

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Unformatted text preview: re difficult questions presented by these cases is "What, if any, responsibility does the employer have to try to learn the pertinent facts concerning his employee's character?" Id. at 1240. The Williams court gave the following considerations for trial of this issue: (1) what kind of inquiry "would have been reasonable under the circumstances"; (2) what is the information the employer "would likely have obtained had it made such inquiry"; and (3) what was "the cost of obtaining such information." Williams, 386 So.2d at 1241. Answering the first of these questions, as to the duty of inquiry where an employee is given the authority to enter the living quarters of others, the Williams court stated the following rule: 37 If an employer wishes to give an employee the indicia of authority to enter into the living quarters of others, it has the responsibility of first making some inquiry with respect to whether it is safe to do so. Id. at 1240. The court then concluded that the employer, Feather Sound, did [**15] not carry out this responsibility since it made no effort to contact prior employers and did not seek advice from the employee's references. The court held, accordingly, that the trial court should not have granted a summary judgment in favor of the employer. From the foregoing discussion, we conclude, paraphrasing Williams, 386 So.2d at 1241, that the ultimate question of liability to be decided is whether it was reasonable for the employer to permit the employee to perform his job in the light of information about him which the employer should have known. Addressing this ultimate issue, appellant presents two basic arguments: first, that appellant had no legal duty to independently investigate Turner's background because the job for which he was hired involved only incidental contact with customers; and, second, appellant contends that, as a matter of law, it met and exceeded its duty to evaluate Turner for the deliveryman position based upon appellant's actual experience with Turner in similar jobs. We find these argum...
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