If your company experiences an episode of workplace violence, there is a chance that a negligent hiring claim will follow closely after. This isn’t something that happens frequently, but if it does happen it can be costly. Not just in money but also in company image. Employers are often held liable for the actions of employees while on the job. The negligent hiring case law provides that anyone injured by an employee’s misdeeds such as another employee, customer or a member of the public, would be in a position to collect damages from the company as a result.
Companies lose around 79% of the negligent hiring cases brought against them
What Employers Need to Know
A company’s best defense if a negligent hiring case is brought against them is to show that they did their due diligence in checking the employees background prior to hiring. Both federal and state courts do recognize a cause of action for a negligent hiring case, but they apply different standards for liability. The less they could have foresaw the event, the less liability the employer probably has.
Tips for avoiding negligent hiring claims:
- Do a thorough background check
- Drug test employees when they have access to potentially dangerous machinery
- Verify their employment history and check with references
- Verify that they have the professional licenses they claim to have
- If they operate a vehicle for their job, check their driving history
Negligent Hiring Example
An officer who was seriously injured when a taxi driver allegedly shot him in the head is suing the Alexandria Yellow Cab company for 10 million dollars, alleging negligent hiring. Kashif Bashir allegedly shot Alexandria police Officer Peter Laboy in the head on Feb. 27 2013 as Laboy attempted a routine stop of Bashir’s taxi. Bashir was charged with aggravated malicious wounding, attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, and two counts of using a weapon in the commission of a felony.
Prior to the Feb. 27 incident, Bashir had been convicted or charged with more than a dozen violations during the past few years, including:
- Failure to obey a traffic signal, 2007
- Speeding, 2009
- Failure to pay attention, 2012
- Failure to obey a highway sign, 201
- Tampering with a vehicle, 2011
- Speeding, 2007
- Failure to wear a seat belt, 2007
- Failure to pay full time and attention, 2010
- Speeding, 2011
- Failure to obey a traffic signal, 2013
- Violation of good behavior on a misdemeanor offense
- Illegal sale of unapproved equipment
- Misdemeanor assault, 2011
There are really two points here. The first is that companies that elect not to screen prospective employees at all put the public at risk. This case resulted in a $10 million negligent hiring lawsuit against the employer. It also proves that the past is prologued. People who frequently commit crimes often commit progressively worse crimes.