Negligent Hiring

Negligent hiring can be detrimental to a business, opening the door for litigation and reputational damage. In our most recent blog, the professionals at Barada Associates discuss how to safeguard your business by understanding the elements of negligent hiring and how to identify them.

What Is Negligent Hiring?

A negligent hiring claim can be brought against a business when an injury occurs due to a company’s failure to properly screen employees to perform job duties.  Negligent hiring can easily occur if a company does not conduct proper background screenings before hiring an employee. 

For example, if an employee assaults a client at work, causing an injury, the injured party may file a negligent hiring claim against the business. The business may be found liable for the injury if the company did not conduct a criminal history background check, which would have shown the employee had a history of assault arrest and/or conviction.

Elements of Negligent Hiring

Negligent hiring laws vary by state. State laws dictate the elements that must be present for a situation to constitute negligent hiring, though in general, elements of negligent hiring may include:

  • The business has a duty to hire employees who are competent.
  • The business breaches its duty to hire competent employees.
  • The business’ breach caused an injury to the plaintiff.
  • The law permits recovery for the type of injury suffered by the plaintiff.

The validity of negligent hiring claims is determined by each state’s individual laws. Negligent hiring can occur if a company is aware of an individual’s unfitness for the job yet hires the candidate anyway. It can also occur if an employer fails to exercise care in the hiring process to determine if an individual is fit for the position. 

How to Detect Signs of Negligent Hiring

While the elements of negligent hiring vary from state to state and case to case, they generally involve failing to follow best practices in the hiring process. When determining if negligent hiring is present in a situation, some factors to consider are:

  • Was a background screening conducted prior to hiring an individual?
  • Were references checked prior to hiring?
  • Is the company’s drug screening policy accurately enforced?
  • Did the company verify the candidate’s education, licensure, and/or professional certification claims to ensure the candidate holds the proper credentials for the job?

What to Do in the Face of Negligent Hiring

Negligent hiring can cause a business to be held liable for physical injuries and can significantly damage its reputation. If your company has made a negligent hire, you can be held liable for any harm the employee causes under the theory of negligent retention if the company continues to employ the individual.

If a company acquires information that supports an employee’s unfitness for the job after they’re hired, the situation should be addressed with the company’s attorneys at once. The company should remove the employee from their duties following guidance from employment attorneys.

Reduce the likelihood that your company could be held liable in a negligent hiring claim by following best practices regarding pre-employment background screening.

  • Conduct thorough and appropriate background checks, including criminal history, professional license and certification verification, motor vehicle records, and other application checks.
  • Check all references provided by a candidate prior to hiring. If they don’t have references listed, ask for them.
  • Create an employment application that thoroughly covers all disclosures of past activities that may be pertinent to employment.

Ensure Quality Hiring Practices with Barada Associates

Reduce the likelihood of negligent hiring by strengthening your company’s pre-employment background screening process. Barada Associates performs thorough background screening that’s tailored for your business’s unique needs. Reach out to our team to see how our services can better safeguard your business against making a hire that exposes your company to liability.