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Negligent hiring: legal risks

by on
in Employment Background Check,Human Resources

Workplace lawsuits arise from negligent hiring when failure to conduct comprehensive background checks leads to employee-instigated injury or harm. Background investigations into past employment histories and possible felony convictions are just two of the steps necessary to lower the liability for being hit by negligent hiring legal claims.

1. What is the concept of negligent hiring?

Employers have become increasingly threatened with liability for negligent hiring for failing to check the background of an applicant who later causes harm or injury to a co-worker or customer. A number of courts have held that employers are obligated to investigate the background of an applicant because a background check may reveal certain facts that would have disqualified him/her from being hired in the first place.

 2. How can an employer reduce its risk of liability for negligent hiring?

Here are steps you can take to reduce your vulnerability to negligent hiring charges.

Step 1. Conduct adequate background investigations on applicants; look for convictions for physical or sexual assault. Question applicants about any gaps in their employment history to determine whether the time was spent in prison for violent crimes. Check references as thoroughly as possible. Try to speak personally with the job applicant's former supervisor. Look for any clues indicating that an applicant has a "short fuse" or had difficulty getting along with supervisors or co-workers.

Step 2. Keep track of how new employees are performing. If allegations of workplace threats surface, don't ignore them. Investigate immediately at the first signs of violent behavior.

Step 3. Take action when required. Employees who show signs of violent behavior should be removed from the job immediately. Place them on suspension while you investigate.

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