Texas employers have an obligation to ensure the trustworthiness, reliability, and expertise of their employees. If they neglect those responsibilities, and someone suffers as a direct result, then those employers are guilty of negligent hiring.
The Elements of Negligent Hiring
To successfully make a claim for negligent hiring, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant has a legal duty to hire, supervise, train, or retain a competent employee; the failure to exercise those duties is a direct cause of harm to a plaintiff; and the problem was foreseeable.
Inquiry into Qualifications: If a plaintiff’s job requires specific skills or experience, the employer should ensure that the employee has those skills. For example, a job which requires driving a truck should also require verification of the employee’s driving record. See King v. Associates Commercial Corp., 744 S.W.2d at 213-14 (Tex.App.—Texarkana 1987, writ denied).
Inquiry into Criminal Background: In some jobs, employers have an obligation to perform a criminal background check. In-home service and residential-delivery companies, for example, are required to run an employee background check to avoid placing a customer at risk. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 145.002.
In addition, employers must adequately supervise employees to prevent them from causing harm to others. Employers must also provide adequate training to avoid risk or harm to others. Retaining an employee that the defendant knows could create an unreasonable risk of harm to others is also an example of negligent hiring. Not following these expectations leads to liability for those employers.
Fully understanding the scope and consequences of negligent hiring is a challenge that requires someone familiar with all the complexities of the law surrounding hiring practices. Consulting a lawyer with such expertise will help to avoid common pitfalls.
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