Property Owners’ Legal Liability For Negligent Hiring Decisions
PROPERTY OWNERS MAY BE LIABLE FOR INJURIES RESULTING FROM IMPROPER HIRING DECISIONS.
People who own, manage, or control property in California may be legally liable for injuries resulting from the actions of negligently-selected, trained, or supervised employees.
Land owners–and remember, that term includes not only actual “owners” but people who manage and control land, too–have a duty to use reasonable care when hiring, training, supervising, and continuing to employ their employees. The term for a breach of this duty is “negligent hiring” – but it applies to all phases of employment, not just the hiring process.
If an employee was negligently hired, improperly trained, inappropriately supervised, or allowed to continue on the job when the employer knew or should have known that doing so risked foreseeable injuries to others, the employer may be legally liable if the employee’s action (or inaction) causes injury.
When hiring employees to work on your property or for your business, be sure to engage in complete and proper pre-hiring review and screenings. Create appropriate training policies, and be certain they are carried out with each and every employee. Ensure that employees are properly supervised while on the job, by management staff that know how to recognize inappropriate or potentially dangerous situations, and have policies in place to guide the managers’ decisions and behavior when such situations arise. Review employees’ performance diligently, and in accordance with proper practices and procedures, to ensure that you do not retain employees whose conduct creates a danger to themselves or others.
Most importantly – do not rely on this or any other general article to determine whether or not your employment policies comply with law and your legal duties. Consult an attorney to obtain an individualized evaluation of your hiring, training and management procedures, to ensure that you are hiring and retaining your employees (and management staff) with proper care.
NEGLIGENT HIRING CONTRASTED WITH “RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR”
Negligent hiring differs from the legal doctrine of respondeat superior.
Respondeat Superior is a legal theory that holds employers legally liable for things employees do in the course of employment. Things an employee does while on the job (“within the course and scope of his or her employment”) are legally attributed to the employer in many cases. This means that if an employee causes damage, breaks the law, or injures someone while working or acting on behalf of the employer, the employer may be legally responsible.
By contrast, negligent hiring involves the employer’s direct action and breach of the duty to hire, train, and supervise its employees with reasonable care. Where respondeat superior holds the employer responsible for the actions of someone else (the employee), negligent hiring holds the employer responsible for its own breach of the duty to behave responsibly when hiring, training, and managing employees.