It’s a pretty well-established fact that everyone (excluding lawyers) wants to stay out of court. Sometimes that may be impossible, but practicing (and documenting) your due diligence in hiring helps significantly. Several sources put the percent of negligent hiring court cases decided in favor of plaintiffs at 75-79%. Because most attorneys working this area work on contingency they are less likely to sue an employer who they can’t claim was careless or neglectful. That is, they seek cases they feel they can win.
It is impossible to know the future behavior of employees, but practicing due diligence with background checks, employment, education & license verifications, motor vehicle records, references, substance abuse screening, etc. can help prevent a negligent hiring claim and subsequent award. Knowing an employee’s background to the legal extent allows companies to foresee potential for carelessness, harassment, violence or an event that could lead to a claim of negligence in hiring.
Precedent has been set in negligent hiring cases on the basis of whether there was a foreseeable potential for an incident or accident involving co-workers, customers or third parties. A thorough pre-employment screen is the only way to uncover foreseeable potential.
For an extreme example, here is a terrible story from the Orange Leader in Angleton, TX (where, BTW you’ll find the terrific, giant 76-foot statue of Texas founding father, Stephen F. Austin).
The cost of background screening is slight when compared to legal, litigation and potential plaintiff awards. If you’d like to discuss your safe hiring practices, please reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you!