The employee hiring process requires an employer to follow numerous procedures to ensure that they are not hiring someone who will place the company’s customers or other employees in harm’s way. These procedures include requiring drug testing and background checks for applicants. In some jurisdictions, a company can be sued for a negligent hire.

What Is Negligent Hiring?

Negligent hiring occurs when an employer negligently hires an individual who was dangerous or has an untrustworthy character, and the employer knew or should have known this about the employee. This often occurs when an employer fails to properly investigate the employee before hiring them.

Can I Sue for Negligent Hiring?

It depends on what state you are in. Only about half of the states have laws that are designed to punish employers for negligently hiring a dangerous employee. In states with negligent hiring laws, such as California and Kansas, an individual can file a claim against the employer if they are harmed by the dangerous employee. This type of claim relies on the concept that, but for the employer failing to exercise proper hiring procedures, the employee would not have been hired and placed in a position where they could harm the victim.

How Can an Employer Avoid a Negligent Hiring Lawsuit?

In jurisdictions that have these laws, it is important for an employer to do the following to avoid negligent hiring liability:

  • Conduct pre-employment background checks
  • Conduct employment physical examinations
  • Conduct employee drug testing

What Is a Background Check?

A background check is conducted to obtain any relevant information pertaining to the applicant’s:

  • School records
  • Credit report
  • Military service records
  • Driving records
  • Worker compensation records
  • Criminal records
  • Medical records

Which Industries Are Most Prone to Negligent Hiring Lawsuits?

While all employers are at risk of engaging in negligent hiring, employers in certain service-related industries need to be especially careful. Companies that hire the following are at a higher risk of negligent hiring:

  • Delivery people
  • Retail staff
  • Nursing home workers
  • Real estate agents who either know pass-lock combinations or have keys
  • Property management personnel
  • Home health care aides
  • Service and maintenance workers
  • Utility personnel

Should I Contact a Lawyer Regarding Negligent Hiring Laws?

Yes. If you were injured because of a negligent hire, contact a personal injury lawyer to learn about your rights. The lawyer will explain if your state recognizes negligent hiring laws and file a claim on your behalf.