What is "Negligent Hiring" - and how HR Managers can help prevent it

2 min read
Fri, Jul 31, 2015


With news accounts of Uber drivers being accused of rape and police officers accused of suspicious deaths of people in custody, negligent hiring claims are in the news and on the rise. Negligent hiring is a legal claim made against an employer when there is failure to take action to prevent damage given the authority of the employee’s position.

Employees hired represent a company. The company can be held responsible if employers are negligent in ensuring the employee doesn’t harm another person.

Negligent hiring claims can be avoided if HR managers do due diligence on applicants before they're hired.


Hiring and Promotion Policies

Consistent and updated human resources policies are an important part of preventing negligent hiring. Hiring and promotion policies will document the background checks and other tests that would be run at every level of job position in your organization. Your HR department should be well trained on these policies and they should be updated regularly - especially as situations arise that challenge the current policy.

See also: HR Guide to Background Check Policy  

Perform the Right Background Checks

Not every job position will require numerous in depth background checks. Depending on the access to secure information and people, especially children, those in poor health or the elderly, certain criminal background checks should be required. A position that requires driving should have an extensive check of their driving records and if their license and insurance is valid and current. 

See also: What Background Checks Are Necessary

Maintain Documentation

Federal regulations, including the EEOC and the FCRA, require certain forms and documentation during the hiring process. These forms also should be maintained in a particular way for a certain length of time and destroyed in an approved way. Electronic forms, including applications, consent to background screens and drug testing, are easier to maintain and should be considered. 

See also: HR Record Retention For Forms

Perform Background Checks Regularly

When an employee is initially hired, part of the hiring process is generally a screening of the applicant’s background. An employee who continues to gain more access to people and information should be screened regularly or at the very least, at every promotion. Annual criminal background checks and drug testing can be performed and should be included as part of the employee agreement upon hiring. 

See also: Running Background Checks on Current Employees

Hiring an employee without performing a background check, drug testing or any other due diligence can often be the same costs as hiring dozens of employees. When factoring in the cost of a negligent hiring claim, the cost of a background check is minimal.


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