Close Menu

Employment Newsletter

The Importance of Effective Pre-Employment Screening

“Negligent hiring” is a legal doctrine that holds employers liable for unlawful acts committed by their employees. The issue arises when an employer hires a person that she knew or should have known could pose an undue risk of harm to others within the course and scope of employment.

Under this doctrine, the employer has the responsibility for checking the background and references of any job applicant before placing that individual in a situation of contact with the public. Examples of businesses particularly at risk may include:

  • Schools
  • Housing
  • Youth organizations
  • Customer-service

Establishing a Claim Under Negligent Hiring

A person that alleges injuries caused by an employee and expects to hold the employer liable under the doctrine of negligent hiring must show that:

  1. The employer owed a duty to that person because there was an association or connection between that person and the services or business the employer provides;
  2. The nature and frequency of the employee’s contact with the public may pose a potential risk of harm; and
  3. Evidence of the employee’s potential risk to others existed prior to and at the time of the hiring and that the employer failed to investigate.

Negligent Hiring Frequently Cited in Litigation

In December, 2005, the parents of an eight year-old boy filed a lawsuit against FedEx Corp., alleging the negligent hiring of Paul Sykes, a convicted sex offender. The lawsuit alleged that Sykes approached the family at the Connecticut FedEx Kinko’s store where he was employed, and offered to repair their home computer. While visiting their home to repair the computer, Sykes allegedly assaulted their son. The lawsuit asserted that FedEx knew, or should have known, of Sykes’ dangerous propensities as a sexual predator. In April of 2007 Sykes was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the molestation. In 2008, a federal judge dismissed the civil lawsuit against FedEx, ruling the company could not be held responsible for the conduct of its employee outside the workplace. The case is currently on appeal.

  • Respondeat Superior in Theory and Practice
    In general, people are not liable for the actions of others. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. One long-standing exception is the doctrine of “respondeat superior,” a Latin term meaning “let the master... Read more.
  • Workers' Compensation Law and the ADA
    The purpose of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is to prevent employers from discriminating against current or prospective employees based on disability. On the other hand, state Workers’ Compensation laws are... Read more.
  • Lead Exposure in the Construction Industry
    The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set forth a number of standards that govern a variety of issues related to the construction workplace. OSHA’s Lead Standard for the Construction Industry... Read more.
  • Obtaining a Permanent Labor Certificate from the Department of Labor
    One avenue that allows an employer to hire a foreign worker to work permanently in the U.S. entails a “permanent labor certification” through the Federal Department of Labor (DOL). Before the employer can submit a petition... Read more.
Employment News Links
Share This Page:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

© 2017 - 2024 Law Offices of Cary Schwimmer, Attorney at Law. All rights reserved.
Custom WebShop™ law firm website design by NextClient.com.