Negligent Hiring and Retention and Personal Injury Claims
Employers have a responsibility when hiring new employees. They must ensure they are not hiring anyone who could cause harm to customers or other employees. If an employee has a history of violence or other problems, and then commits an act of violence against a customer or co-employee, an employer can be held negligent for hiring someone who was a known risk. This is known as negligent hiring.Help Wanted
Additionally, employers can be held liable for not firing an employee who is a known risk. For example, if an employee continually exhibits dangerous behavior and is not fired, retrained or reassigned within the company, an employer can be held responsible when such dangerous behavior inevitably ends with another person’s injury. This is called negligent retention.
What can employers do to ensure they don’t hire new employees with a dangerous history?
One of the best ways to make sure new employees will not be a danger is to run a background check. This will reveal the potential employee’s violent or criminal past. If an employer doesn’t run a background check and hires an employee with a history of violence, if that employee commits violence against another employee or a customer, the employer may be held responsible.
Drug testing is another way an employer can be sure to keep a work environment as safe as possible. Potential employees should be drug tested prior to hiring. If an employer fails to perform an initial or regular drug test, and someone is hurt because an employee makes a mistake under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the employer is liable for damages. Employee drug use is especially dangerous in situations involving heavy machinery or where driving vehicles is required.
How can I prove my employer committed negligent retention?
If your employer routinely ignored an employee’s dangerous behavior, and that behavior was the cause of injury to another person, your employer should be responsible for damages that arise as a result of that employee’s dangerous behavior. Negligent behavior can encompass anything from an employee refusal to do his or her job correctly, engaging in frequent horseplay, or simply the physical inability to perform difficult tasks.
If an employee is unwilling or unable to perform his or her duties safely and correctly, that can be a very dangerous situation for other employees. If you see that a co-employee is not safely performing his or her job duties, this should be brought to the attention of a supervisor or manager. If you don’t think your employer is taking your safety concerns seriously, make a detailed incident record and go above your supervisor’s head if you must.
An employer can take steps to re-train or re-assign an employee who is not properly completing his or her job tasks. But if an employer refuses to take steps to correct potentially dangerous behavior, the employer could be held liable.
If someone is injured by a co-worker, it is potentially a workers’ compensation claim and not a personal injury claim. For more information on what is the difference between a personal injury and a workers’ compensation claim, watch my video on the topic.
How does negligent hiring or negligent retention affect my injury claim?
An employer’s negligent practices can affect all kind of personal injury claims. For example, maybe you were hit by a tractor trailer, and the trucker was under the influence of drugs. If the employer failed to run proper drug screens, or ignored positive test results, that is an instance of employer negligence.
Or, perhaps you slipped and fell in a grocery store due to an employee failing to put out a wet floor sign during mopping. If that employee had been consistently known to fail to put out a wet floor sign and was never properly retrained by his employer, that is an example of negligent retention.
Maybe you purchased some kind of large appliance that required delivery workers to come into your home, and were subsequently assaulted as the result of trusting a representative of that company to come inside. If the employer failed to perform a background check that would have revealed a history of violence and assault, that is an example of negligent hiring.
In these instances, an employer could be held liable for the damages caused by his or her employee.
If you have specific questions for a Georgia injury attorney or a Georgia workers compensation attorney, give Ty a call 1-866-937-5454.