The Difference Between Negligent Hiring and “Respondeat Superior”
PROPERTY OWNERS MUST USE REASONABLE CARE WHEN HIRING WORKERS
Property owners have a legally recognized duty to use “due care” (essentially, reasonable care) whenn hiring employees and other persons to perform work on the land owner’s property. This liability also attaches to people in possession or control of land, if they hire workers or employees.
The duty applies not only to hiring decisions, but also to the way the property owner trains, supervises, and continues to employ each worker. As with the hiring decision itself, each of these facets of the employment relationship must be exercised with due care. A person (or company) who fails to comply with this duty at one or more of the aforementioned phases may be liable for “negligent hiring.”
NEGLIGENT HIRING DIFFERS FROM “RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR”
Respondeat superior is a legal doctrine that holds employers liable for the actions their employees take within the course and scope of their employment. Essentially, the doctrine says that employers are generally liable for the actions their employees take at work and within the work environment. (While that’s an enormous oversimplification, it gives some idea of the scope of potential liability.)
Respondeat superior is a form of vicarious liability – meaning that it holds the employer liable for employees’ actions, rather than for actions taken by the employer personally. By contrast, negligent hiring holds the employer liable for his or her own actions–specifically, the failure to use due care in hiring, employing, supervising, and/or training personnel.
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