Combating Negligent Hiring Claims

Reasonable investigation duty. You have a duty to make a reasonable investigation of an applicant's fitness before hiring. The extent of the duty may vary with the circumstances.

You can be held liable if:


Not Negligent Hiring

Pete was dishonorably discharged from the military for a drug offense a few years ago and has been fired a couple of times since. While working for an airplane mechanic's shop, he took a plane he had been working on, flew it, and crashed it. The owner of the plane could not successfully sue the employer because it was not reasonably foreseeable that Pete would do such a thing.

Negligent Hiring

After a furniture store delivery person assaulted a customer while delivering furniture to her home, the furniture store owner was held liable for negligent hiring. If the company had conducted any background check at all, it would have found that he had a history of violent behavior. The customer could recover damages from the owner in this instance because it was reasonably foreseeable that a person with a violent past might assault a customer.

Criminal records check. For jobs in which the employee will have access to people's homes or to sensitive information, you should conduct a criminal records check.