Respondeat Superior Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Doctrine of Respondeat Superior is a legal doctrine that is commonly used in tort. This principle makes an employer or principal legally responsible for the wrongful acts done by an employee or agent, if such acts occur within the scope of the employment or agency.

Under this doctrine, an employer is liable for the negligent acts or omissions of his/her employee which are committed within the scope of his/her employment. To impose liability, there should be some evidence that a master-servant relationship existed between the parties. The test to determine if respondeat superior applies is whether the person sought to be charged as a master had the right or power to control and direct the physical conduct of the other in the performance of the act. If there is no right to control, there is no liability. [Wilson v. United States, 989 F.2d 953, 958 (8th Cir. Mo. 1993)].

The following is an example of a case law on the doctrine:

The respondeat superior doctrine provides that an employer is subject to liability for torts committed by employees while acting within the scope of their employment. The doctrine's scope is limited to the employment relationship and to conduct falling within the scope of that relationship. [CBS Corp. v. Fed. Commun. Comm'n, 535 F.3d 167 (3d Cir. 2008)].