Model's eyebrow taken off?

by Lauren
(New York)

I was at a salon 6 months ago and the technician accidentally took off half my eyebrow. This is an eyebrow salon so I assume they do this all day.

I sat down and asked her to clean up my eyebrows, and she began to thread them, my skin seemed sensitive so I asked her to wax them instead. She started on one eyebrow and as she was going to get more wax something told me to look up and I saw she took off half my eyebrow!

She didn't say sorry and really seemed not to care. I asked the other girl in the shop what was going on and why she would do that, and then the girl started crying. I was so upset I left before I lost it on her. I am a model and it's my profession to use my face, so it directly affected me.

This happened in July. I have a photo of my eyebrows right after it happened. Can I still do something about this? Can I get compensated for this since it affected my work? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Model's eyebrow taken off?":

Lauren (New York):

Under the legal doctrine of "Respondeat Superior" employers, including business owners, may be responsible for the acts and omissions of their employees. This includes negligent acts which result in harm to third parties.

The doctrine of Respondeat Superior applies only when the employee is performing his or her normal and customary work duties.

For example, if after complaining to the salon owner, the employee became upset and punched you, then the employer would likely not be liable, as the employee's act of striking you was outside of her normal and customary work duties. Striking a patron is a criminal act. Employers are not liable for criminal acts of their employees unless the employer was complicit in the criminal act.

In your case, the salon owner may be liable for harm caused to you by the employee. However, to be compensated for the act of negligence will require a showing of harm. While the evidence is uncontroverted your eyebrow was damaged, and that the employee regretted her act, you must be able to show as a result of that act you lost wages, or were otherwise economically harmed. From the facts you present there is no evidence of that.

If though, you are able to show the damage to your eyebrow prevented you from seeking a job as a model, or that you lost a job as a model because of the damage to your eyebrow, then that loss is compensable by the salon owner. If this is the case, the photos you took will be quite helpful.

Hopefully at the time of the act you filed a complaint with the salon owner or manager. If so, there will be a record of the act. While at this point the salon owner is not legally obligated to give you a copy of the report, if it exists it may later be subpoenaed.

If, as a result of the employee's negligence you lost wages, then ask the salon owner to refer you to their insurance company. Then contact the insurance company and file an injury claim.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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