Can I sue a company from which an employee stole my wallet and used my credit cards in another store?

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Can I sue a company from which an employee stole my wallet and used my credit cards in another store?

My wallet was stolen from the kiosk at a piercing pagoda in a mall after having spent money there. I called back asking for it and they reported not seeing it. The person used my cards at one of the department stores and I notified the police. They called back reporting that the person who stole the wallet worked at the piercing pagoda kiosk. Can I also sue the department store for not verifying the ID of that credit card?

Asked on May 26, 2017 under Business Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An employer cannot be held liable for the acts of its worker in this case since the commission of a crime is not part of their "job duties". As for a store not verifying a customer's identification, this is legal and considered reasonable. Accordingly, you have no claim regarding their not checking the "customer's" (i.e. the thief's) ID.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot sue the company employing this person: an employer is not liable for the criminal acts of its employees, since committing crimes is outside or beyond the scope of employment--it is not what the employees are hired or employed to do. You also cannot sue for them not verifying the ID of that credit card: as you have undoubtedly noticed, very few, if any, retailers, stores, etc. check ID when accepting a credit card; it is considered reasonable and acceptable to not verify ID, and so there is no liability for not checking.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot sue the company employing this person: an employer is not liable for the criminal acts of its employees, since committing crimes is outside or beyond the scope of employment--it is not what the employees are hired or employed to do. You also cannot sue for them not verifying the ID of that credit card: as you have undoubtedly noticed, very few, if any, retailers, stores, etc. check ID when accepting a credit card; it is considered reasonable and acceptable to not verify ID, and so there is no liability for not checking.


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