Negligent Hiring & Retention

Employers have a duty to ensure the people they employ are competent for the position and duties for which they are hired. If an employer fails to check an employee’s background or properly train that person, and the employee eventually harms someone, the employer could be responsible for negligent hiring. Similarly, if an employee engages in potentially dangerous behavior once hired, an employer could be liable for negligent retention if he or she keeps the employee on the job.

What Qualifies as Negligent Hiring?

Negligent hiring occurs when an employer hires someone with a reputation or record showing a predisposition to misuse the kind of authority given by an employer, and this record would have been easily discoverable if the employer had exercised due diligence. Due diligence in the hiring process may include background checks, reference checks, credential checks, skill testing, drug testing, credit checks, and more. Too often, however, employers do not do enough of these types of checks—or none at all—before hiring someone.

Georgia Law Regarding Negligent Hiring & Retention

In Georgia, liability for negligent hiring or retention requires evidence that the employer knew or reasonably should have known of the employee’s propensity to engage in the type of conduct that caused injury to another. Specifically, in order to bring a successful claim for negligent hiring or retention, a plaintiff must show:

  1. The employer did not exercise reasonable care in hiring the worker, such as conducting a criminal history records check or background check.
  2. The employee had dangerous tendencies, which would have been apparent if the employer had screened the employee. For example, when a position involves driving responsibilities, there should be a policy for checking motor vehicle records to see if a potential candidate has any history of unsafe driving.
  3. The employer placed the employee in a position where others could be injured.

Some industries see more occurrences of negligent hiring and retention than others, such as care-giving to dependent children and adults, nursing homes, real estate, rental apartment and condominium companies, delivery companies, and service and maintenance companies. These industries require personnel who are ethical, competent and responsible. Unfortunately, too often, people are hired who have a history of decidedly dishonest, unscrupulous, and even illegal behavior. When such people are hired, employers are putting their customers, clients, other employees, and the public at risk of harm.

Contact the Legal Team at KWFDM for More on Negligent Hiring

If you think you may have been injured due to negligent hiring or retention, please contact Katz Wright Fleming & Dodson, LLC at 404-460-0101. Tell us about your experience during a free initial consultation. We can help determine if you have a claim for compensation against an employer or business.

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