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Agency law[]

Under agency law, an employee must act solely for the benefit of the employer in all matters connected with employment.[1] To establish a principal-agent relationship, where a principal may be held liable for the actions of an agent, it is not required that the principal actually control the agent.[2] All that is required is that the principal have the ability or the right to control the agent, whether the principal actually exercises that control.[3]

Further, an agent owes a duty of good faith and loyalty to the principal. The agent may not use his or her position for its own benefit at the principal's expense.[4] An employee may not engage in activities contrary to the interests of the employer.


An agency is an agreement, express or implied, by which one of the parties, denominated the principal, confides to the other, denominated the agent, the management of some business, to be transacted in his name, or on his account, and by which the agent assumes to do the business and to render an account of it. As a general rule, whatever someone can do personally, except in virtue of a delegated authority, may be done by an agent.


An agency (also called a collection agency) is "an organization or individual engaged in collecting and/or processing information.[5]

State government[]

An agency is

a bureau, board, commission, council, department, or other entity in the executive branch of state government, excluding educational institutions.[6]

U.S. Government[]

Agency means

any executive department, military department, government corporation, government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the government (including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency, but does not include —
(a) the Government Accountability Office;
(b) Federal Election Commission;
(c) the governments of the District of Columbia and of the territories and possessions of the United States, and their various subdivisions; or
(d) Government-owned, contractor-operated facilities, including laboratories engaged in national defense research and production activities.[7]


  1. Restatement (Second) of Agency §387 (1958).
  2. Schutz v. Arrow Fin. Servs., LLC, 465 F. Supp. 2d 872, 877 (N.D. Ill. 2006) (full-text).
  3. Id.
  4. Manufacturers Cas. Ins. Co. v. Martin-Lebreton, 242 F.2d 951, 953 (5th Cir. 1957) (full-text).
  5. Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, at 4.
  6. Michigan Dept. of Tech., Management & Budget, 8000 Glossary (Jan. 6, 1997) (full-text).
  7. 44 U.S.C. §3502(1).

See also[]