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Negligent Hiring Lawsuits: Employer Liability and Legal Consequences

Did you know that approximately 78% of job applicants provide inaccurate information on their resumes? These inaccuracies can range from minor exaggerations, such as inflating job tenure, to more serious misrepresentations like falsely claiming high-ranking positions or concealing criminal records. As an employer, it is crucial to thoroughly vet your candidates’ backgrounds to mitigate potential repercussions stemming from their actions. Negligent hiring can lead to serious legal consequences, including costly lawsuits.


Understanding Negligent Hiring


Employer Liability in Hiring


Negligent hiring is a legal concept that holds employers accountable for an employee’s actions or misconduct due to their failure to exercise reasonable care during the hiring process. In essence, negligent hiring occurs when an employer’s negligence leads to harm inflicted by an employee on coworkers or third parties. For example, if you hire an individual with a history of violence or criminal behavior, and that person subsequently harms a colleague or customer, you could face legal liability.


Legal Consequences of Negligent Hiring


Compliance and Best Practices


As an employer, your duty extends to exercising reasonable care when hiring employees. This entails conducting thorough pre-employment screening and background checks to confirm a candidate’s qualifications and suitability for the role. If an employee’s actions or misconduct directly cause harm to others, and this harm could have been foreseen based on the candidate’s background or qualifications, you may be held liable for the consequences.


The repercussions of a negligent hiring lawsuit can be severe. Potential consequences include hefty monetary fines, which could reach into the millions or even billions, damage to your company’s reputation, and civil liability.


Reducing the Risk: Best Practices


To minimize the risk of negligent hiring lawsuits, employers should take proactive steps in their hiring processes and ensure that their HR department remains well-informed about relevant laws. Here are some best practices:


  1. Comprehensive Background Checks and Screening: Implement thorough background checks and screening processes, including reference checks and employment history verification.


  1. Written Hiring Procedures: Establish written hiring procedures that clearly define the qualifications and responsibilities for each position.


  1. Documentation: Maintain detailed records of the hiring process, including CVs, interview notes, and reference check documentation.


  1. HR Staff Training: Ensure that HR personnel responsible for hiring are well-trained to avoid mistakes in the process.


  1. Verify Statements: Verify the accuracy of candidate-provided references and information.



Pre-Employment Screening and Check It Easy

One of the most effective tools to mitigate the risk of negligent hiring lawsuits is a comprehensive background check. Check It Easy, an industry leader, offers background screening services that help employers make informed hiring decisions. Unlike automated background checks that can be prone to errors, Check It Easy combines automated processes with personal checks to ensure accuracy and reliability.



Case Studies: Real-Life Consequences

To underscore the importance of pre-employment screening and the consequences of negligent hiring, here are real-life case studies:


  • Trucking Company Negligence (2019): A trucking company had to pay $54 million in damages for negligently hiring a truck driver with a troubled past who later caused a significant accident on the job.
  • Workplace Violence (2015): In 2015, a former employee with a troubled past attacked two former colleagues during a live broadcast, resulting in one fatality. The surviving colleague filed a lawsuit against the employer, claiming $6 million for negligence in the hiring process and delayed termination of employment.



Negligent hiring lawsuits pose significant legal and financial risks to employers. To protect your organization, it is crucial to prioritize pre-employment screening, adhere to best practices, and rely on reputable background screening services like Check It Easy. By doing so, you can mitigate the risks associated with negligent hiring, safeguard your reputation, and ensure a safe working environment for your employees and customers.






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