Potential District Liability for Negligence of Supervisory Employees

The California Supreme Court concluded that a public school district may be held vicariously liable for the negligence of its administrative and supervisory employees for hiring, supervising and retaining an employee who sexually harassed and abused a student. (C.A. v. William S. Hart Union High School District, 53 Cal.4th 861 (2012).) This liability also potentially extends to individual administrators.

Pursuant to the Court’s decision, school administrators have an ongoing duty to appropriately hire, train and supervise their employees. Administrators who are aware of any claims of employee misconduct must promptly address charges of misconduct through a thorough and well-documented investigation and take appropriate disciplinary measures. Otherwise, there is a possibility of liability for both the employing district, and individual administrators.