HRM 510 Business Employment Law
October 28, 2012
What was the legal issue in this case? In my opinion there are several legal issues that can be derived from this case. The first is whether Dona Ana County Detention Center misrepresented a former employee to Mesilla Valley Hospital by giving Joseph Herrera a letter of recommendation for work even though they knew he had a recent history of sexual abuse and misconduct while working for them. Dona Ana County Detention Center had documented information that Mr. Herrera had previously had disciplinary issues involving sexual conduct with inmates. Having withheld that and by writing a letter of recommendation to Mesilla Valley Hospital, they put female patients in harm’s way. This is a negligent referral from Mr. Frank Steele who was Joseph Herrera’s supervisor at the Dona Ana County Detention Center in the fact that Mr. Steele knew Mr. Herrera was a threat and potentially dangerous employee around female inmates. He had documented information that supported these acts but chose to write an excellent letter of recommendation for any and all future employers to have in regards to hiring Mr. Herrera.
Why does the court conclude that Doña Ana County could be held liable for negligent referral (misrepresentation?)
Using a similar case from California Supreme Court Randi W. vs. Muroc where various officials gave recommendations at different school districts containing unreserved and unconditional praise of their former employee despite their knowledge of complaints involving sexual misconduct at his prior employment. The employee was hired as a vice principle where he was accused of sexually a thirteen year old student. This ultimately prepared the court to adopt sections 310 and 311 of the Restatement [of torts], holding that the recommending school officials owed a duty of care to the third party student in a way not to misrepresent the facts in describing the qualifications and character of a former employee. The decision comes from the courts saying that Dona Ana County Detention Center’s management misrepresented Joseph Herrera in a manner that potentially put other females in harm’s way. They knowingly withheld information that could have prevented the sexual misconduct that took place with the plaintiff, a young women undergoing psychiatric therapy at Mesilla Valley Hospital where Joseph Herrera was hired and ultimately was assigned to oversee the plaintiff. So the reason the court concludes that Dona Ana County Detention Center is liable is because they withheld pertinent information and misrepresented Joseph Herrera to Mesilla Valley Hospital. They concluded that if Mesilla Valley Hospital had the necessary information about Joseph Herrera’s past, they may not have hired him which could have prevented the sexual misconduct.
Should it have mattered that the former employer’s investigation was not able to confirm all of the allegations against Herrera? Explain your answer.
No I do not believe so because the reports indicated prior issues of misconduct on behalf of Joseph Herrera even before the hearing that was scheduled with Frank Steele and Joseph Herrera on