The word tort is used to describe that branch of the law which treats of the redress of injuries, which are neither crimes nor arise from the breach of contracts.
Ordinary prudence is generally that course of conduct which prudent persons take for the safety and protection of their own persons from an injury which is liable to occur to them in the place and under the circumstances which surround them. This is opposed to negligence which must be shown by the plaintiff in an action for damages.
A master owes to his servant certain inalienable non-assignable duties peculiar to that relationship, based in general upon the duty not to expose him to unnecessary or unreasonable risks. The servant has a right to assume that his employer has performed these duties. They consist in the exercise of reasonable care with reference to (1) providing and maintaining suitable appliances, machinery, and places to work; (2) providing proper fellow servants in sufficient number; (3) making and promulgating rules for the regulation of servants and giving warning and instruction especially to youthful and inexperienced employes with reference to danger; (4) inspecting appliances, machinery, and places to work, supervising fellow servants, and securing the observance of rules. However, a master is liable only for failure to exercise reasonable care in the performance of his duties to his servant. He is not an insurer.
The law assumes that a servant possesses ordinary knowledge of and will exercise ordinary prudence in the occupation which he undertakes and, excluding the negligence of fellow servants, assumes the ordinary risks of his employment. If the risks of an employment are extraordinary and are knowingly assumed by the servant, he cannot recover from his employer.
Webster's Imperial Dictionary defines a strike as, "The act of workers in any branch of industry discontinuing work with the object of inducing their employer to concede certain demands made by them; sometimes marked by violence on the part of those striking or their sympathizers, or by active attempts to injure the business of the employer, as by boycott, intimidation, and the picketing of the employer's place of business to prevent the employment at other help, and to dissuade those employed from remaining at work." In order to come within the law of torts and be actionable as such, strikes and boycotts must have as essential elements (1) A combination of persons to do harm to another; (2) malicious intent; (3) damage to complainant. The common-law right of laborers to combine and use peaceful means to advance their interests, and, more specifically, the price of labor, has been generally broadened by statute. When such a statute extends the common-law rights as to combinations of labor, the courts recognize corresponding changes in the rights of employers to combine to resist employes. Employers' unions, formed in opposition to employes' unions are lawful, not being made to lower the price of labor. As regards the act of strikers leaving in a body, such is held to be a combination in itself wrongful and illegal. The intent to injure another without lawful provocation must, however, be clearly shown. Legal authorities are not in accord as to what constitutes a (legal) voluntary association and an (illegal) boycott. The rule having most ample support, is that while a trader may lawfully engage in the sharpest competition with those in a like business by holding out extraordinary inducements, by representing his own wares to be better and cheaper than those of others, yet when he oversteps that line, and commits an act with the malicious intent of inflicting injury upon his rival's business, his conduct is illegal, and if damage results from it, the injured party is liable to redress.