Nearly every small business operator dreams of expanding his or her business. This usually entails getting more business, becoming a leader in your market and ultimately hiring more people. Yet in today’s litigious business environment, hiring more team members means exposing yourself to greater risk. Every time we turn around there is another law passed that requires employers to perform greater and greater due diligence with regard to human resource issues.
For example, did you know that an employer can be held liable for the negligent hiring or retention of an employee?
What is Negligent Hiring?
Employers have an obligation to protect their employees and third parties from the “foreseeable” acts of an employee, and employers can be held liable for facts that are known or “should have been known” regarding an employee’s character or job-related experience.
Negligent hiring occurs when a company fails to contact their employee’s former employers, check references and does not conduct a criminal background check prior to hiring the employee. According to a recent study performed by a leading Human Resources publication, more than 16,000 threats are made in the workplace every workday and 13 people die because of workplace violence each week.
Negligent hiring is based on the principal that employers have an obligation to protect their employees and clients from injury caused by their employees. Liability for negligent hiring can be imposed on an employer, if the employer is aware, has reason to believe the employee is unfit, or fails to use “reasonable care” to verify the employees unfitness for duty, prior to hiring the employee, and an individual sustains injury as a result of the employer’s negligence.
The employer is presumed not to have been negligent for hiring an employee if, prior to hiring the employee, the employer conducted or retained a qualified employment background screening company, to perform a background check on the prospective employee and the background check did not reveal any information that reasonably demonstrated the unsuitability of the prospective employee for the specific work to be performed or for employment in general. It is important that employers perform their due diligence by conducting background checks on every employee hired, regardless of the size their workforce. No employer is immune from a lawsuit resulting form negligent hiring practices.
George Ramos, CEO
Employers Choice Online
My thanks to George Ramos, CEO of Employers Choice Online for writing the above article and helping all of us to understand our responsibilities as employers. EmployersChoiceOnline.com provides Employment Background Screening Services to employers of every size and industry throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and abroad. If you are considering hiring someone, I urge you to contact George at Employers Choice Online or call toll free at (800) 424-7011. A small investment in performing a background check can protect your company from risk as well as ensure the safety of your employees.