What is Negligent Hiring?

There is a better than 50% chance that whatever state an employer is currently in, that state upholds the negligent hiring doctrine. Negligent hiring is based on the notion that employers have a duty to exercise diligence and care when selecting employees. In other words, an employer must adequately screen individuals by performing a "reasonable" investigation of the applicant's background.

Employers have been barred from using "ignorance of the employee's past" as a means of avoiding liability. Courts have held that negligence not only occurs when the employer knew, but also when the employer should have known that an employee was unacceptable for a position. The message to employers is clear, failure to pre-screen applicants can result in lawsuits from third parties for negligent hiring and could be a very costly oversight. Employers can be held accountable both legally and financially, if it can be shown that additional efforts to investigate would have uncovered information that made the subsequent misconduct foreseeable. The employer has an obligation to act reasonably and responsibly in ensuring protection of customers, clients and fellow employees.


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