Negligent retention is a type of employment claim in which a worker claims that their employer failed to terminate or discharge an employee who should have been released from the company. In most cases, this involves situations where the employer knew or should have known that the worker in question had a tendency to commit:
- Workplace harassment
- Workplace violence
- Sexual harassment
- Office bullying
- Fraud, dishonesty, or other questionable types of conduct
Legal action may follow if injury or loss occurs to an employee or employees as a result of the employer not terminating the person in a timely manner. Such claims usually need to be supported by evidence that the worker had a history of or a tendency towards violence or harassment.
A common example of negligent retention is where an employee brings a weapon or other dangerous item into the office. The employer may be held liable for negligent retention if nothing is done about the situation, or if later the employee repeats their actions. The claim for negligent retention becomes greater if someone gets injured by the same employee who should have been fired but was not.
Another example is where one worker is sexually harassing another. In most cases this will lead to disciplinary action, but some cases warrant a termination of an employee, especially if contact or harm is involved. If the employer fails to terminate an employee when they clearly should have, a negligent retention claim may be filed. Again, the claim gets stronger if the behavior is repeated. The claim is also strengthened if there is clear evidence that the employee may engage in the wrongful conduct (for instance, if they send an email threatening a person or suggesting that they will perform an illegal act in the future).
Negligent retention lawsuits can result in a variety of remedies. In many cases, the employer may be held liable for damages caused by their negligence. This may include costs related to injuries, property damage, and other losses.
Other remedies may include a reinstatement back to a previous work position if the plaintiff was terminated in connection with the negligent retention. An example of this is where an employee was fired due to misinformation spread by the employee who should have been fired.
Negligent retention claims can be complex and may involve mix of different employment laws. It may be in your best interests to hire an workplace attorney in your area if you need help with a negligent retention claim. Your attorney can provide you with research and representation throughout the duration of the process.