Synopsis of Rule of Law. Â When determining whether an employee has embarked on a slight or substantial deviation, courts must examine various factors including: 1) the employee’s intent; 2) the nature, time, and place of the deviation; 3) the time consumed in the deviation; 4) the work for which the employee was hired; 5) the incidental acts reasonably expected by the employer; and 6) the freedom allowed to the employee in performing his job responsibilities.
Issue. Â Whether a jury could determine that the employee’s conduct was within the scope of his employment (i.e. was there a triable issue of fact to determine whether employee’s deviation from his work errand was slight or substantial)?
Held. Yes, a reasonable jury could conclude that Defendant Welch was acting within the scope of his employment when he attempted to turn into the service station.
Whether an employee is acting within the scope of his employment is generally a jury question.View Full Point of Law
Applying various factors (the rule of law above) to determine whether the Defendant Welch made only a slight deviation, the court noted that the station was right off the main road on the route to Defendant Osco’s district office. The court also determined that Defendant’s purpose was to get an estimate for a vehicle regularly used in his job duties. Consequently, his stop for routine maintenance used for business purposes could be considered enough of a mixed purpose by a jury to keep him within his scope of employment. A jury could also find that because the accident occurred on the road, not at the station, Defendant was still on his errand route on behalf of his employer. Moreover, a manager may be given latitude to conduct personal errands incidental to the duties of driving from store to store during the day, such that the employer expected the incidental acts to take place.