“Our admin will run errands for us on occasion. I just heard she received a DUI last month. Should I have any concerns?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Yes, you should definitely be concerned. Whenever you allow an employee to drive for any reason related to their work or your company, you are taking a risk. If anything happens while an employee is driving, it’s your company that will be sued.

Companies don’t always consider someone running errands as an actual driver for the company, but you should. Even a quick, one-time run for sandwiches for the boss’ lunch is considered work time and puts the company at risk. It doesn’t matter if they are using their own vehicle or yours, it’s the activity that will count against you.

Before allowing any employee to drive on company time for any reason, you really need to do your due diligence:

  • Do you get a copy of their personal auto insurance for your files?
  • Do you get a copy of their driving record from DMV on a regular basis?
  • Do you do post-offer drug/alcohol testing?
  • Do you have a policy about driving for the company that mentions safe driving, the need to report any tickets or accidents, and other important considerations?
  • Does your company’s liability insurance policy provide you coverage for employees who are driving?
  • Do you know who is legally responsible for paying parking or traffic tickets?
  • Do you understand when a commute might be considered work time?
  • Does the employee know they could be fired if driving is a major part of their work and they are no longer considered a safe driver?

Doing your due diligence to ensure you have safe drivers is not a violation of the employee’s personal privacy. If they don’t want to provide the information you need, you don’t allow them to drive or don’t hire them into a position that will require driving. The company will always be viewed as having “deep pockets” in comparison to the employee driving so both are sued when something happens. While you can’t guarantee every employee is driving safely, you can at least show you are taking your due diligence seriously.

Over the years, there have been some interesting lawsuits about employee accidents. One lawsuit was about an employee who was responsible for taking the company mail to the post office every day on her way home…and had an accident. Another lawsuit was about an employee who attended a company happy hour and caused a fatal car accident on his way home. What might be your lawsuit story?

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