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Employer Liability For Negligent Hiring


Negligent hiring is a form of negligence which may or may not be actionable (or create liability for employers in California) depending upon the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

Negligent hiring differs from respondeat superior, which is a cause of action that may accrue against an employer for torts (civil wrongs) and other wrongful acts committed by employees in the course and scope of their employment.

Causes of action for negligent hiring may occur where an employer (either an individual or a business entity):

1.  Knows or should have known that an employee created a risk that a specific harm would occur; and

2. That specific harm occurs; and

3. Legally recognized injuries or damage results.


Negligent hiring exists, as a cause of action, because the law often shifts the burden of losses to the party most capable of preventing them. In the case of hiring and employees, a business that knowingly employs a person who endangers others is required to bear the risk that injuries or damage will result.

Negligent hiring applies to negligent business decisions made when hiring, supervising, and retaining (continuing to employ) employees. However, negligent hiring is actionable only where all of the relevant elements are met – including the threshold requirement that the employer knew or should have known (meaning, the employer had a reason to know) that the employee: (a) presented a significant or unreasonable risk of harm to people or property, or (b) was unfit for his or her position in a manner that created the requisite risk of harm.


Disclaimer: THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AUTHOR OR ROSS LAW AND ANY PERSON. Your rights and experiences may vary. Never use an online article (including this one) to evaluate your legal claims. Speak with an experienced lawyer promptly to obtain a personalized evaluation of your claims, possible damages, and options. You may lose or compromise your rights if you delay in consulting legal counsel. Most legal claims (and defenses) are complicated and fact-dependent. If you believe you have a claim against someone who injured you, a lawyer who represented you in a previous lawsuit, or any other type of legal claim, consult an experienced lawyer immediately for an evaluation of your personal rights and claims.

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