Personal Injury Lawyer
An employer may be held liable for harm caused by their employees if the employer has been negligent in hiring, retaining, supervising, or training the employee. As with all negligence claims, the plaintiff must prove that the employer owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, that the employer breached that duty, and that the employer’s breach caused the plaintiff to suffer damages.
An employer owes a duty to exercise reasonable care in hiring employees. An employer should take care to ensure that they do not hire anyone that would pose a threat of harm to other employees, customers or members of the public. Negligent hiring occurs where an employer fails to exercise reasonable care in hiring an employee who has dangerous tendencies or is unsuitable for the position, the employee’s dangerous tendencies or unsuitability would have been apparent to the employer had they exercised reasonable care, and another employee or customer is injured as a result of the employer’s failure to exercise reasonable care. This often occurs when an employer neglects to conduct an investigation of applicants before hiring them or conducts an inadequate investigation.
Both fellow employees and members of the public can sue for negligent hiring. A plaintiff may recover damages for injuries sustained as a result of negligent hiring, as well as pain and suffering and punitive damages. Workers’ compensation laws might also require employers to compensate victims if they have been subjected to violence on the job.
The most common scenarios in which claims for negligent hiring arise are from violent acts in the workplace and sexual assault or harassment against other employees.
Negligent retention is similar to negligent hiring and requires the same elements. The two claims differ because of the time at which the employer learns or should have learned about the employee’s dangerous propensities or unsuitability. Negligent retention occurs where the employer learns or should have learned that an employee is unsuitable after they have already hired the employee, but nonetheless continues to retain that employee. Courts consider the employee’s work record, any complaints the employer has received against the employee, and whether the employee has any prior improper behavior at work when evaluating a negligent retention claim.
An employer who fails to take action when they know or suspect that an employee poses a risk to other employees or the public is liable for injuries, pain and suffering, and possibly punitive damages to those harmed by the employee. Negligent retention claims are not limited to harmful acts occurring on the employer’s property.
Negligent supervision occurs where an employer has failed to reasonably control or monitor the actions of their employees. Negligent supervision claims often arise in the context of sexual harassment. Therefore, negligent supervision claims will often depend on several factors, such as whether the employer knew or should have known about the harassment, whether the employer took action to prevent such harassment, and whether the victim reported the harassment to the employer.
In order to hold an employer liable for negligent supervision, the harmful conduct must have occurred on the employer’s property or with something belonging to the employer, such as a company vehicle. It is also sometimes relevant whether the conduct occurred while the employee was on duty.
Negligent training occurs where an employer fails to train or inadequately trains an employee, and the employee then injures another person. Negligent training claims are similar to negligent supervision claims. Common negligent training claims include an employer’s failure to properly train an employee responsible for securing the employer’s facility and an employer’s failure to train an employee to use instruments and equipment necessary to perform their job functions.