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Legal Memorandum: Employee's Notice of Wrongdoing

Issue: Does wrongdoing by an employee against an employer provide its own notice of the wrong to the employer?

Area of Law: Education Law, Employee Law
Keywords: Wrongdoing; Notice; Knowledge
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2007

A wrongdoer’s knowledge of his own wrongdoing cannot serve as actual notice of that wrongdoing to his employer.  Gebser v. Lago Vista Indep. Sch. Dist., 524 U.S. 274, 291 (1998).  The question before the Court in Gebser was whether a school district had “actual notice” of its teacher’s sexual harassment of a student.  It was argued that as agent of the school the wrongdoer’s knowledge was attributable to the district.  The Court rejected the argument, stating, “[w]here a school district’s liability rests on actual notice principles, however, the knowledge of the wrongdoer himself is not pertinent to the analysis.”  Id.

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